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Also by Isaac Asimov 


Foundation 

Foundation and Empire 
Second Foundation 

Earth Is Room Enough 
The Stars Like Dust 
The Martian Way 
The Currents of Space 
The End of Eternity 
The Caves of Steel 
Asimov’s Mysteries 
The Gods Themselves 
Nightfall One 
Nightfall Two 

I, Robot 

The Rest of the Robots 

The Early Asimov: Volume I 
The Early Asimov: Volume 11 
The Early Asimov: Volume III 

Nebula Award Stories 8 (ed) 

The Stars in their Courses (non~fiction) 

Tales of the Black Widowers (detection stories) 



Isaac Asimov 


The Naked Sun 


Panther 



Granada Publishing Limited 
Published in 1960 by Panther Books Ltd 
Frogmore, St Albans, Herts AL2 2NF 
Reprinted 1964, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 

1973 (twice), 1975, 1977 

First published in Great Britain by 
Michael Joseph Ltd 1956 
Copyright © Isaafc ^imov 1957 
Made and printed in Great Britain by 
Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd 
Bungay, Suffolk 
Set in Intertype Plantin 

This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall 
not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, 
hired out or otherwise circulated without the 
publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or 
■cover other than that in which it is published and 
without a similar condition including this condition 
being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. 

This book is published at a net price and is supplied 
subject to the Publishers Association Standard 
Conditions of Sale registered under the Restrictive 
Trade Practices Act, 1956. 



To Noreen and Nkk Falasca 
for inviting me, 

To Tony Boucher 
for introducing me, 
and To One Hundred 
Unusual Hours 




CHAPTER ONE 


A QUESTION IS ASKED 

Stubbornly Elijah Bailey fought paiiic. 

For two weeks it had been building up. Longer than that, even. 
It had been building up ever since they had called him to Wash- 
bgton and ±ere calmly told him he was being reassigned. 

The, call to Washington had been disturbing enough in itself. It 
came without details, a mere summons; and that made it worse. 
It included travel slips directing round trip by plane and that 
made it still worse. 

Partly it was the sense of urgency introduced by any order for 
plane travel. Partly it was the thought of the plane; simply that. 
Still, that was just the beginning of uneasiness and, as yet, easy to 
suppress. 

After all, Lije Baley had been in a plane four times before. 
Once he had even crossed the continent. So, while plane travel Is 
never pleasant, it would, at least, not be a complete step into the 
unknown. 

And then, the trip from New York to Washington would take 
only an hour. The take-off would be from New York Runway 
Number 2, which, like all official Runways, was decently en- 
closed, with a lock opening to the unprotected atmosphere only 
after air speed had been achieved. The arrival would be at Wash- 
ington Runway Number 5, which was similarly protected. 

Furthermore, as Baley well knew, there would be no windows 
on the plane. There would be good lighting, decent food, all 
necessary conveniences. The radio-controlled flight would be 
smooth; there would scarcely be any sensation of motion once the 
plane was airborne. 

He explained all this to himself, and to Jessie, his wife, who 
had never been airborne and who approached such matters with 
terror. 

She said, ‘But I don’t like you to take a plane, Lijc. It isn’t 
natural. Why can’t you take the Expressways?’ 

7 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘Because that would take ten hours’ — Baley’s long face was set 
in dour lines — ‘and because Fm a member of the Qty Police 
Force and have to follow the orders of my superiors. At least, I 
do if I want to keep my C-6 rating.’ 

There was no arguing with that. 

Baley took the plane and kept his eyes firmly on the newssttip 
that unreeled smoothly and continuously from the eye-level dis- 
penser. The Qty was proud of that service: news, features, 
humorous articles, educational bits, occasional fiction. Some day 
the strips would be converted to film, it was said, since enclosing 
the eyes with a viewer would be an even more efficient way of 
distracting the passenger from his surroundings. 

Baley kept his eyes on the unreeling strip, not only for the sake 
of distraction, but abo because etiquette required it. There were 
five other passengers on the plane (he could not help noticing that 
much) and each one of them had his private right to whatever 
degree of fear and anxiety his nature and upbringing made him 
fe^ 

Baley would certainly resent the intrusion of anyone else on his 
own uneasiness. He wanted no strange eyes on tne whiteness of 
his knuckles where his hands gripped the arm-rest, or the damp- 
ish stain they would leave when he took them away. 

He told himself: I’m enclosed. This plane is just a little City. 

But he didn’t fool himself. There was an inch of steel at his 
left; he cotild feel it with his elbow. Past that, nothing 

Well, air ! But that was nothing, really. 

A thousand miles of it in one Section. A thousand in another. 
One mile of it, maybe two, straight down. 

He almost wished he could see straight down, glimpse the top 
of the buried Cities he was passing over: New York, Phila- 
delphia, Baltimore, Washington. He imagined the rolling, low- 
slimg cluster-complexes of domes he had never seen but Imew to 
be there. And under them, for a mile underground and dozens of 
miles in every direction, would be the Cities. 

The endless, hiving corridors of the Cities, he thought, alive 
with people; apartments, community kitchens, factories, Express- 
ways; all comfortable and warm with the evidence of map. 

And he himself was isolated in the cold and featureless air in a 
small bullet of metal, moving through emptiness. 

His hands trembl^, and he forced his eyes to focus on the strip 
' 8 



A QUESTION IS ASKED 
of paper and read a bit. 

It was a short story dealing with Galactic exploration and it 
was quite obvious that the hero was an Earthman. 

Baley muttered in exasperation, then held his breath moment- 
arily in dismay at his boorishness in making a sound. 

It was completely ridiculous, though. It was pandering to 
childishness, tliis pretence that' Earthmen could invade space. 
Galactic exploration! The Galaxy was closed to Earthmen. It 
was pre-empted by the Snacers, whose ancestors had been Earth- 
men centuries before. Those ancestors had reached the Outer 
Worlds first, found themselves comfortable, and their descend- 
ants had lowered the bars to immigration. They had penned-in 
Earth and their Earthman cousins. And Earth’s City civilisation 
completed the task, imprisoning Earthmen within the Cities by a 
wall of fear of open spaces that barred them from the robot-run 
farming and mining areas of their own planet; from even that. 

Baley thought bitterly: Jehoshaphat! If wc don’t like it, let’s 
do something about it. Let’s not just waste time with fairy tales. 

But there was nothing to do about it, and he knew it. 

Then the plane landw. He and his fellow-passengers emerged 
and scattered away from one anodier, never looking. 

Baley glanced at his watch and decided there was time for 
freshening before taking the Expressway to the Justice Depart- 
ment. He was glad there was. The sound and clamour of life, the 
huge vaulted chamber of the airport with City corridors leading 
o£[ on numerous levels, everythmg else he saw and heard, gave 
him the feeling of being srfely and warmly enclosed in the 
bowels and womb of the Qty. It washed away anxiety and only a 
shower was necessary to complete the job. 

He needed a transient’s permit to make use of one of the com- 
munity bathrooms, but presentation of his travel orders elimin- 
ated any difficulties. There was only the routine stamping, with 
private-stall privileges (the date carefully marked to prevent 
abuse) and a slim sheet of directions for getting to the assigned 
spot. 

Baley was thankful for the feel of the strios beneath his feet. It 
was with something amounting to luxury that he felt himself ac- 
celerate as he moved from strip to moving strip inward towards 
the speeding Expressway. He swung himself aboard lightly, tak< 
ing the seat to which his rating entided him. 

9 



THE NAKED SON 


It wasn’t a rush hour; seats were available. The bathroom, 
when he reached it, was not unduly crowded either. The stall 
assigned to httn was in decent order with a launderette that 
worked well. 

With his water ration consumed to good purpose and his cloth- 
ing freshened he felt ready to tackle the Justice Department, 
Ironically enough, he even felt cheerful. 

Under-Secretary Albert Minnim was a small, compact man, 
ruddy of skin, and greying, with the angles of his body smoothed 
down and softened. He exuded an air of cleanliness and smelled 
faintly of tonic. It all spoke of the good things of life that came 
with the liberal rations obtained by those high in Administration, 

Baley felt sallow and rawboned in comparison. He was con- 
scious of his own large hands, deep-set cye^s, a general sense of 
cragginess. 

Minnim said cordially, ‘Sit down, Baley, Do you smoke?’ 

‘Only a pipe, sir,’ said Baley. 

He drew it out as he spoke, and Minnim thrust back a cigar he 
had half drawn. 

Baley was instandy regretful. A cigar was better than nothing 
and he would have appreciated the gift. Even with the increased 
tobacco ration that went along with his recent promotion from 
C-5 to C-6 he wasn’t exactly swimming in pipe supplies. 

‘Please light up, if you care to,’ said Minnim, and waited with 
a hind of patern^ patience while Baley measured out a careful 
quantity of tobacco and affixed the pipe baffle. 

Baley said, his eyes on his pipe, ‘I have not been told the 
reason for my being called to Washington, sir.’ 

‘I know that,’ said Minnim. He smiled. ‘I can fix that right 
now. You are being reassigned temporarily,’ 

‘Outside New York City?’ 

‘Quite a distance.’ 

Baley raised his eyebrows and looked thoughtful. ‘How tem- 
porarily, sir?’ 

‘I’m not sure.’ 

Baley was aware of the advantages and disadvantages of re- 
assigiunent. As a transient in a City of which he was not a resi- 
dent, he would probably live on a better scale than his official 
rating entitled hhn to. On the other hand, it would be very un- 
likely that Jessie and their son, Bentley, would be allowed to 

10 



A'QUESTIONIS ASKED 

travel with him. They would be taken care of, to be sure, there in 
New York; but Baley tras a domesticated creature and he did not 
enjoy the thought of separation. 

Then, too, a reassignment meant a specific job of work, which 
was good, and a responsibility greater than that ordinarily ex- 
pected of the individual detective, which could be uncomfortable. 
Baley had', not too many months earlier, survived the responsi- 
bility of the investigation of the murder of a Spacer just outside 
New York. He was not overjoyed at the prospect of another such 
detail, or anything approaching it. 

He said, ‘Would you tell me where I’m going? The nature of 
the reassignment? What’s it all about?’ 

He was trying to weigh the Under-Secretary’s ‘Quite a dis- 
tance’ and make little bets with himself as to his new base of 
operations. The ‘Quite a distance’ had sounded emphatic and 
Baley thought: Calcutta? Sydney? 

Then he noticed that Minnim was taking out a cigar after all 
and was lighting it carefully. 

Baley thought: Jehoshaphatl He’s having trouble telling me. 
He doesn’t want to say. 

Minnim withdrew his dgar from between his lips. He watched 
the smoke and said, ‘The Department of Justice is assigning you 
to temporary duty on Solaria.’ 

For a moment Baley’s mind groped for an elusive identifica- 
tion : Solaria, Asia; Solaria, Australia . . . ? 

Then he rose from his seat and said tightly, ‘You mean, one of 
the Outer Worlds?’ 

Minnim didn’t meet Baley’s eyes. ‘That is right.’ 

Baley said, ‘But that’s impossible. They wouldn’t allow an 
Earthman on an Outer World.’ 

‘Circumstances do alter cases, Plaindothesman Baley. There 
has been a murder on Solaria.’ 

Baley’s lips quirked into a sort of refiex smile. ‘That’s a little . 
out of our jurisdiction, isn’t it?’ 

‘They’ve requested help.’ 

‘From us? From earth?’ Baley was tom between confusion 
and disbelief. For an Outer World to take any attitude other than 
contempt towards the despised mother planet, or, at best, a 
patronising social benevolence was unthinkable. To come for 
help? 


11 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘From Earth?’ he repeated. 

‘Unusual,’ admitted Minnim, ‘but there it is. They want a 
Terrestrial detective assigned to the case. It’s been handled 
through diplomatic channels on the highest levels.’ 

Baley sat down again. ‘Why me? I’m not a young man. I’m 
forty-three. I’ve got a wife and child. I couldn’t leave Earth.’ 

‘That’s not our choice, Plainclothesman. You were specially 
asked for.’ 

7 ?’ 

‘Plainclothesman Elijah Baley, C-6, of the New York City 
Police Force. They knew what they wanted. Surely you see why?’ 

Baley said stubbornly, ‘I’m not qualified.’ 

,‘They think you are. The way you handled the Spacer murder 
has apparently reached them.’ 

‘They must have got it all mixed up. It must have seemed 
better than it was.’ 

Minnim shrugged his shoulder. ‘In any case, they’ve asked for 
you and we have agreed to send you. You are reassigned. The 
papers have all been taken care of and you must go. During your 
absence, your wife and child will be taken care of at a C-7 level 
since that will be your temporary rating during your discharge of 
this assignment.’ He paused significantly. ‘Satisfactory comple- 
don of the assignment may make the rating permanent.’ 

It was hanpening too quickly for Baley. None of this could be 
so. He couldn’t leave Earth? Didn’t they see tiiat? 

He heard himself ask in a level voice that sounded unnatural in 
his own ears. ‘What kind of a murder? What are the circum- 
stances? Why can’t they handle it themselves?’ 

Minnim rearranged small objects on his desk with carefully 
kept fingers. He shook his head. ‘I don’t know anything about the 
murder. I don’t know the circumstances.’ 

‘Then who does, sir? You don’t expect me to go there cold, do 
you?’ And again a despairing inner voice: But I can’t leave 
Earth. 

‘Nobody knows anything about it. Nobody on Earth. The 
Solarians didn’t tell us. That will be your job; to find out what is 
so important about the murder that they must have an Earthman 
to solve it. Or, rather, that will be part of your job.’ 

Baley was desperate enough to say, ‘What if I refuse?’ He 
knew the answer, of course. He knew exactly what dedassification 

12 



A QUESTION IS ASKED 

would mean to himself and, more than that, to his family. 

Minnim said nothing about declassification. He said softly, 

‘You can’t refuse, Plaindothesman. You have a job to do.’ 

‘For Solaria? The hell with them.’ 

‘For tts, Baley, for us.’ Minnim paused. Then he went on, ‘You 
know the position of Earth with respect to the Spacers. I don’t 
have to go into that.’ 

Baley knew the situation and so did every man on Earth. The 
fifty Outer Worlds, with a far smaller populadon, in combination, 
than that of Ear^ alone, neverdieless maintained a military 
potential perhaps a hundred times greater. With their under- 
populated worlds resting on a positronic robot economy, their 
energy producdon per human was thousands of times that of the 
Earth. And it was the amount of energy a single human could 
produce that dictated military potential, standard of living, hap- 
piness, and all besides. 

Minnim said, ‘One of the factors that conspires to keep us in 
that posidon of ignorance. Just that. Ignorance. The Spacers 
know all about us. They send missions enough to Earth, heaven 
knows. We know nothing about them except what they tell us. No 
man on Earth has ever as much set foot on an Outer World. 
You wiU, though.’ 

Baley began, ‘I can’t. . , .’ 

But Minnim repeated, ‘You will Your posidon will be unique. 
You will be on Solatia on their invitadon, doing a job to which 
they will assign you. When you return, you will have information 
useful to Eardi,’ 

Baley watched the Under-Secretary through sombre eyes. “You 
mean I’m to spy for Earth?’ 

‘No question of spying. You need do nothing they don’t ask 
you to do. Just keep your eyes and mind open. Observe I There 
will be specialists on Earth when you return to analyse and in- 
terpret your observations.’ 

Baley said, ‘I take it there’s a crisis, sir.’ 

‘Why do you say that?’ 

‘Sending an Earthman to an Outer World is risky. The Spacers 
hate us. With the best will in the world and even though I’m 
ihere on invitation, I could cause an interstellar incident The 
Terrestrial Government could easily avoid sending me if they- 
chose. They could say I was ill. The Spacers ate pathological^. 

13 



THE NAKED SUN 


afraid of disease. They wouldn’t want me for any reason if they 
thought I were ill.’ 

‘Do you suggest,’ said Minnim, ‘we try that trick?’ 

‘No. If the government had no other motive for sending me, 
they would thi^ of that or something better without my help. So 
it follows that it is the question of spying that is the real essential, 
and if that is so, there must be more to it than just a see-what-you- 
can-see to justify the risk.’ 

Baley half expected an explosion and would have half wel- 
comed one as a relief of pressure, but Mumim only smiled frostily 
and said, ‘You can see past the non-essentials, it seems, but then, 
I expected no less.’ 

The Under-Secretary leaned across his desk towards Baley, 
‘Here is certain information which you will discuss with no one, 
not even wiih other government officials. Our sociologists have 
been coming to certain conclusions concerning the present Gal- 
actic situation. Fifty Outer Worlds, under-populated, roboticised, 
powerful, with people that are healthy and long-lived; we our- 
selves, crowded, technologically under-developed, short-lived, 
under their domination; it is unstable,* 

‘Everything is in the long run,’ 

‘This is unstable in the short run. A hundred years is the most 
we’re allowed. The situation will last our time, to be sure, but we 
have children. Eventually we shall become too great a danger to 
die Outer Worlds to be allowed to survive. There are eight 
billions on Earth who hate the Spacers.’ 

Baley said, ‘The Spacers exclude us from the Galaxy, handle 
our trade to their own profit, dictate to our government, and treat 
us with contempt. What do they expect? Gratitude?’ 

‘True, and yet the pattern is fixed. Revolt, suppression, revolt, 
suppression — and within a century Earth will be virtually wiped 
out as a populated world. So the sociologists say.’ 

Baley stirred uneasily. One didn’t question sociologists and 
their computers. ‘But what do you expect me to accomplish if all 
this is so?’ 

‘Bring us information. The big flaw in sociological forecast is 
our lack of data concerning the Spacers. We’ve had to make 
assumptions on the basis of the few Spacers they send out here. 
We’ve had to rely on what they choose to tell us of themselves, so 
it follows we liow their strengths and only their strengths, 

14 



A QUESTION IS ASKED 

Damn, it, they have their robots and their low numbers and their 
long lives; but — do they have weaknesses? Is there some fector or 
factors which, if we but knew, would alter the sociologic in- 
evitability of destruction; something that could guide our actions 
and better the chance of Earth’s survival.’ 

‘Hadn’t you better send a sociologist, sir?’ 

Minnim shook his head. ‘If we could send whom we pleased, 
we would have sent someone ten years ago, when these conclu- 
sions were first being arrived at. This is our first excuse to send 
someone and they ask for a detective. That suits us. A detective is 
a sociologist, too, a rule-of-thumb, practising sociologist, or he 
wouldn’t be a good detective. Your record proves you a good 
one.’ 

‘Thank you, sir,’ said Baley mechanically. ‘And if I get into 
trouble?’ 

Minnim shrugged his shoulders. ‘That’s the risk of a police- 
man’s job.’ He dumissed the point with a wave of his hand and 
added, ‘In any case, you must go. Your time of departure is set. 
The sUp that will take you is waiting.’ 

Baley stiffened. ‘Waiting? When do I leave?’ 

‘In two days.’ 

‘I’ve got to get back to New York then. My wife ’ 

'We will see your wife. She can’t know the nature of your job, 
you know. She will be told not to expect to hear from you.’ 

‘But this is inhuman. I must see her. I may never see her 
again.’ 

Minnim said, ‘What I say now may sound even more inhuman; 
but is there ever a day on which as you set about your duties you 
cannot tell yourself that she may never see you again? Plain- 
clothesman Baley, we must all do our duty.’ 

Baley’s pipe had been out for fifteen minutes. He had never 
noticed it. 

No one had more to tell him. No one knew anything about lie 
murder. Official after official simply hurried him on to the 
moment when he stood at the base of a spaceship, all unbelieving 
still. 

It was like a gigantic cannon aimed at the heavens, and Baley 
shivered spasmodically in the raw, open air. The night closed in 
(for which Baley was thankful) like ^rk black walls melting into 

15 



THE NAKED SUN 

a black ceiling overhead. It was cloudy, and though he had been 
to Planetaria, a bright star, stabbing through a rift in the cloud, 
startled him when it caught his eyes. 

A little spark, far, far away. He stared curiously, alnaost un- 
afraid of it. It looked quite close, quite insignificant, and yet 
around things like that circled planets of which the inhabitants 
were lords of the Galaxy. The sun was a thing like that, he 
thought, except that it was much closer, shining now on the other 
side of the Earth, 

Suddenly he thought of the Earth as a ball of stone with a film 
of moisture and gas, exposed to emptiness on every side, with its 
Cities barely dug into the outer rim, clinging precariously be- 
tween rock and air. His skin crawled. 

The ship was a Spacer vessel, of course. Interstellar trade was 
entirely in Spacer hands. He was alone now, just outside the rim 
of the City. He had been bath&i and scraped and sterilised until 
he ^s considered safe, by Spacer standards, to board the ship. 
Even so, they sent only a robot out to meet him, bearing as he did 
a hundred varieties of disease germs from the sweltering City td 
which he himself was resistant but to which the eugenically hot- 
housed Spacers were not. 

The robot bulked dimly in the night, its eyes a dull red g^ow. 

‘Flainclothesm'an Elijah Baley?* 

‘That’s right,’ said Baley crisply, the hair on the nape of his 
neck stirring a bit. He was enough of an Earthman to get angry 
goose-fiesh at the sight of a robot doing a man’s job. There had 
been R. Daneel OUvaw, who had partnered witlj him in the 
Spacer murder affair, but that had been differentT Daneel had 
been 

‘You will follow me, please,’ said the robot, and a white light 
flooded a path towards the ship. ' 

Baley followed. Up the ladder and into the ship he went, along 
corridors, and into a room. 

The robot said, ‘This will be your room. Flainclothesman 
Baley. It is requested that you remain in it for the duration hf the 
trip.’ 

Baley 'thought. Sure, seal me off. Keep me safe. Insulated, . 

The corridors along which he had travelled had been empty. 
Robots were probably disinfecting them now. The robot facing 
him would probably step through a germicidal bath when it 1^ 

16 



A QUESTION IS ASKED 

The robot said, ‘There is a water supply and plumbing. Food 
will be supplied. You will have viewing matter. The ports are 
controlled from this panel. They are closed now but if you wish to 
view space ’ 

Baley said with some agitation, ‘That’s all right, boy. Leave 
the ports closed.’ 

He used the ‘boy’ address that Earthmen always used for 
robots, but the robot showed no adverse response. It couldn’t, of 
course. Its responses were limited and controlled by the Law of 
Robotics. 

^ The robot bent its large metal body in the travesty of a respect- 
ful bow and left. 

Baley was alone in his room and could take stock. It was better 
than the plane, at least. He could see the plane from end to end. 
He could sec its limits. The spaceship was large. It had corridors, 
levels, rooms. It was a small Qty in itself. Baley could almost 
breathe freely. 

Then lights flashed and a robot’s metallic voice sounded over 
the communo and gave him specific instructions for guarding 
himself against take-off acceleration. 

There was the push backwards against webbing and a yielding 
hydraulic system, a distant rumble of force-jets heated to fury by 
the proton micro-pile. There was the hiss of tearing atmosphere, 
growing thinner and high-pitched and fading into nothingness 
after an hour. 

They were in space. 

•», 

It was as thdugh all sensation had numbed, as though nothing 
were real. He told himself that each second found him thousands 
of miles farther from the Qties, from Jessie, but it didn’t register. 

On the second day (the third? — ^there was no way of telling 
time except by the intervals of eating and sleeping) ^ere was a 
queer momentary sensation of being turned in^e out. It lasted 
an instant and Baley knew it was a Jump, that oddly incompre- 
hrasible, almost mystical, momentary transition through hyper- 
space that transferred a ship and all it contained from one point 
in space to another, light-years away. Another lapse of time and 
anomer Jump, sdll another lapse, sdll another Jump. 

, Baley told himself that he was light-years away, tens of light- 
years, hundreds, thousands. 


17 



THE NAKED SUN 


He didn’t know how many. No one on Earth as much as knew 
Solaria’s location in space. He would bet on that. They were 
ignorant, every one of them. ' 

He felt terribly alone. 

There was the feel of deceleration and the robot entered. Its 
sombre, ruddy eyes took in the details of Baley’s harness. 
EfiSdently it tightened a wing nut; quickly it surveyed the details 
of the hydraulic system. 

It said, ‘We wiU be landing in three hours. You will remain, if 
you please, in this room. A man will come to escort you out and 
to take you to your place of residence.’ 

‘Wait,’ said Baley tensely. Strapped in as he was, he felt help- 
less. *When we land, what time of day will it be?’ 

The robot said at once, ‘By Galactic Standard Time, it will 

‘Local dme, boy, local time ! Jehoshaphat ! ’ 

The robot continued smoothly, ‘The day on Solaria is twenty- 
eight point thirty-five Standard hours in length. The Solarian 
hour is divided into ten decads, each of which is divided into a 
himdred centads. We are scheduled to arrive at an airport at 
which the day will be at the twentieth centad of the fifth decad.’ 

Baley hated that robot. He hated it for its obtuseness in not 
understanding; for the way it was making him ask the questions 
directly and exposing his own weakness. 

He had to. He said flatly, ‘WiU it be daytime?’ 

And after aU that the robot answered, ‘Ifes, sir,’ and left. 

It would be day. He would have to step out on to the un- 
protected surface of a planet in daytime. 

* He was not quite sure how it would be. He had seen glimpses 
of planetary surfaces from certain points within the City; he had 
even been out upon it for moments. Always, though, he had been 
surrounded by walls or within reach of one. There was always 
safety at band. 

\i5l1ere would there be safety now? Not evten the false walls of 
darkness. 

And because he would display weakness before the Spacers — 
he’d be damned if he would — ^he stiffened his' body against the 
webbing that held him safe against the forces of deceleration, 
dosed his eyes, and stubbornly fought panic. 


18 



CHAPTER TWO 


A FRIEND IS ENCOUNTERED 

Baley was losing his fight. Reason alone was not enough. 

Baley told himself over and over: Men live in the open all 
their lives. The Spacers do so now. Our ancestors on Earth did it 
in the past. There is no real harm in wall-lessness. It is only my 
mind that tells me differently, and it is wrong. 

But all that did not help. Something above and beyond reason 
cried out for walls and would have none of space. 

As time passed, he thought he would not succeed. He would be 
cowering at the end, trembling and pitfful. The Spacer they 
would send for him (with filters in his nose to keep out germs, and 
gloves on his hands to prevent contact) would not even honestly 
despise him. The Spacer would feel only disgust. 

Baley held on grimly. 

When the ship stopped and the deceleration harness auto* 
matically uncoupled, while the hydraulic system retracted into 
the wall, Baley remained in his seat. He was afraid, and deter- 
mined not to wow it. 

He looked away at the first quiet sound of the door of his room 
opening. There was the eye-comer flash of a tall, bronze-haired 
figure entering; a Spacer, one of those proud descendants of 
Earth who had disowned their heritage. 

The Spacer spoke. ‘Parmer Elijah 1 ’ 

Baley’s head turned toward the speaker with a jerk. His eyes 
rounded and he rose almost without volition. 

He stared at the face; at the broad, high dieekbones, the 
absolute calm of the facial lines, the symmetry of the body, most 
of all at that level look out of nerveless blue eyes. 

‘D-daned.* 

The Spacer said, ‘It is pleasant that you remember me, Parmer 
Elijah.’ 

‘Remember you!’ Baley felt relief wash over him. This being 
was a bit of Earth, a friend, a comfort, a saviour. He bad an 

19 



THE NAKEP SUN 


almost unbearable desire to rush to the Spacer and embrace hint, 
to hug him wildly, and laugh and pound his back and do all the 
foolish thin gs oM friends &d when meeting once again after a 
separation. 

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. He could only step forward, and 
hold out his hand and say, ‘I’m not likely to forget you, DaneeL’ 

‘That is pleasant,’ said Daneel, nodding gravely. ‘As you are 
well aware, it is quite impossible for me, while in working order, 
to forget you. It is well that I see you again.’ 

Daneel took Baley’s band and pressed it witli firm coolness, his 
finger closing to a comfortable but not painful pressure and ^en 
releasing it. 

Baley hoped earnestly that the creature’s unreadable eyes could 
not penetrate Baley’s mind and see that wild moment, just past 
and not yet entirely subsided, when all of Baley had concentrated 
into a feeling of an intense frieiuiship that was almost love. 

After all, one could not love as a friend this Daneel Olivaw, 
who was not a man at all, but only a robot. 

The robot that looked so like a man said, ‘I have asked that a 
robot-driven ground-transport vessel be connected to this ship by 
air-tube ’ 

Baley frowned. ‘An air-tuhe?’ 

‘Yes, it is a common technique, frequently used in space, in 
order ^at persoimel and materiel be transferred from one vessel 
to another without the necessity of special equipment against 
vacuum. It would seem then that you are not acquainted with 
the technique.’ 

‘No,’ said Baley, ‘but I get the picture.’ 

‘It is, of course, rather complicated to arrange such a device 
between spaceship and ground vehicle, but I have requested that 
it be done. Fortunately, the mission on which you and I ate en- 
gaged is one of high priority. Difficulties are smoothed out 
quickly.’ 

‘Are you assigned to the murder case, too?’ 

‘Have you not been informed of that? I regret not having told 
you at once.’ There was, of course, no sign of regret on the robot’s 
perfect face. ‘It was Dr Han Fastolfe, whom you met on Earth 
during our previous partnership and whom I hope you remember, 
who first suggested you as an appropriate investigator in this case. 
' He made it a condirion that I be assigned to work with you once 

20 



A FSIBND IS ENCOUNTBSED 

more.* . 

Baley managed a smile. Dr Fastolfe was a native of Aurora 
and Aurora was the strongest of the Outer Worlds. Apparendy 
the advice of an Auroran bore weight. 

Baley said, *A team that worlts shouldn’t be broken up, eh?’ 
The first exhilaradon of Daneel’s appearance was fiiding and the 
. compression about Baley’s chest was returning. 

*I do not know if that precise thought was in his mind. Partner 
Elijah. From the nature of his orders to me, I should think that he 
was interested in having assigned to work with you one who 
would have experience with your world and would know of your 
consequent peculiarities,’ 

‘Peculiarities 1 ’ Baley frowned and felt offended. It was not a 
term he liked in cotmecdon with himself. 

‘So that I could arrange the air-tube, for example. I am well 
aware of your aversion to open spaces as a result of your up- 
bringing in the Cides of Eardi.’ 

Perhaps it Viras the effect of being called ‘peculiar,’ the feeling 
that they had to counter-attack or lose caste to a machine, -that 
drove Baley to change the subject sharply. Perhaps it was- just 
that life-long training prevent^ him from leaving any logical 
contradiction undisturbed. 

He said, ‘There was a robot in charge of my welfare on board 
this ship; a robot’ — a touch of malice intruded itself here — ‘that 
looks like a robot. Do you know it?’ 

‘1 spoke to it before coming on board.’ 

‘What’s its designadon? How do I make contact with it?’ 

‘It is RX-2475. It is customary on Solaria to use only serial 
numbers for robots.’ Daneel’s calm eyes swept the control pane] 
near the door. ‘This contact will signal it’ ' 

Baley looked at the control panel himself and, since the contact 
to which Daned pointed was labelled RX, its idendficadon 
seemed quite unmysterious. 

Baley put his finger over it and in less than a minute, the robot, 
the one &at looked like a robot, entered. ■ 

Baley said, ‘You are RX-2475.’ 

‘Yes, sir.’ 

‘You told me earlier that someone would arrive to escort me off 
the sUp. Did you mean him?’ Baley pointed at DaneeL 

The eyes of the two robots met. RX-2475 said, ‘His papers 

21 



THE NAK.ED SUN 


identify him as the one vrho was to meet you,’ 

‘Were you told in advance about him other than his papers. 
Was he described to you?’ 

‘No, sir. I was given his name, however.’ 

‘Who gave you the information?’ 

‘The captain of the ship, sir.’ 

*Who is a Solarian?’ 

‘Yes, sir.’ 

Baley licked his lips. The next question would be decisive. 

He said, ‘What were you told would be the name of the one 
you were expecting?’ 

RX-2475 said, ‘Daneel Olivaw, sir.’ 

‘Good boy I You may leave now.’ 

There was the robotic bow and then the sharp about-face, RX- 
2475 left. 

Baley turned to his partner and said thoughtfully, ‘You are not 
telling me all the truth, Daneel’ 

‘In what way, Partner Elijah?’ asked Daneel. 

‘While I was tal^g to you earlier, I recalled an odd point. RX- 
2475, when it told me I would have an escort said a man would 
come for me. I remember that quite well.’ 

Daneel listened quietly and said nothing. 

Baley went on. T thought the robot might have made a 
mistake. I thought also that perhaps a man had indeed been 
assigned to meet me and had later been replaced by you, RX- 
2475 not being informed of the change. But you heard me check 
that. Your papers were described to it and it was given your 
name. But it was not quite given your name at that, was it, 
Daneel?’ 

‘Indeed, it was not given my entire name,’ agreed Daneel 

^Your name is not Daniel Olivaw, but R, Daneel Olivaw, isn’t 
it? Or, in full, Robot Daneel Olivaw.’ 

‘You are quite correct. Partner Elijah.’ 

‘From which it all follows that RX-2475 was never informed 
that you are a robot. It was allowed to think of you as a man. 
With your man-like appearance, such a masquerade is possible,’ 

‘I have no quarrel with your reasoning.’ , 

‘Then let’s proceed.’ Bdey was feeling the germs of a kind of 
savage delight. He was on the trace of something. It couldn’t be 
anyl^g much, but this was the kind of tracking he could do 

22 



A FRIEND IS ENCOUNTERED 

well. It was somethiiig lie could do well enough to be called half 
across space to do. He said, ‘Now why should anyone want to 
deceive a miserable robot? It doesn’t matter to it whether you are 
a man or a robot. It follows orders in either case. A reasonable 
conclusion then is that the Solarian Captain who informed the 
robot and the Solarian officials who informed the Captain did not 
themselves know you were a robot. As I say, that is one reason- 
able conclusion, but perhaps not the only one. Is this one true?’ 

‘I believe it is.’ 

‘All right, then. Good guess. Now why? Dr Han Fastolfe, in 
recommending you as my partner allows the Solarians to think 
you are a human. Isn’t that a dangerous thing ? The Solarians, if 
they find out, may be quite angry. Why was it done?’ 

The humanoid robot said, ‘It was explained to me thus. Part- 
ner Elijah. Your association with a human of the Outer Worlds 
would raise your status in the ej^ of the Solarians. Your associa- 
tion with a robot would lower it. Since I was familiar with your 
ways and could work with you easily, it was thought reasonable to 
allow the Solarians to accept me as a man without actually de- 
ceiving them by a positive statement to that dffect.’ 

Baley did not believe it. It seemed like the kind of careful 
consideration for an Earthman’s feelings that did not come 
naturally to a Spacer, not even to as enlightened a one as Fas- 
tolfe. 

He considered an alternative and said, ‘Are the Solarians well 
known among the Outer Worlds for the production of robots?’ 

‘I am glad,’ said Daneel, ‘that you have been briefed concern- 
ing the inner economy of Solaria.’ 

‘Not a word,’ said Baley. ‘I can guess the spelling of the word 
Solaria and there my knowledge stops.’ 

‘Then 1 do not see, Parmer Elij^, what it was that impelled 
you to ask that question, but it is a most pertinent one. You have 
hit the 'mark. My mind-store of information includes the fact 
that, of the fifty Outer Worlds, Solaria is by far the best known 
for the variety and excellence of robot models it turns out. It 
exports specialised models to all die other Outer Worlds.’ 

Baley nodded in grim satisfaction. Naturally Daneel did not 
follow an intuitive mental leap that used human weakness as a 
starting point. Nor did Baley feel impelled to explain the reason- 
ing. If Solaria turned out to be a world expert in robotics, 'Dr 

23 



THE NAKED SUN 


Han Fastolfe and his associates might have purely personal and 
very human motives for demonstrating their own prize robot. It 
would have nothing at all to do with an Earthman’s safety or 
feelings. 

They would be asserting their own superiority by allowing the 
expert Solarians to be fooled into accepting a robot of Auroran 
handiwork as a fellow-man. 

Baley felt much better. Strange that all the thought, all the 
intellectual powers he could muster, could not succeed in lifting 
him out of panic; and yet a sop to his own vainglory succeeded at 
once. 

The recognition of the vainglory of the Spacers helped too. 

He thought; Jehoshaphat, we’re all human; even me Spacers. 

Aloud he said, almost flippantly, ‘How long do we have to wait 
for the ground-car? I’m ready.’ 

The air-tube gave signs of not being well adapted to its present 
use. Man and humanoid stepped out of the spaceship erect, 
moving along flexible mesh that bent and swayed under their 
weight. In space, Baley hnagined hazily, men transferring weight- 
lessly from ship to ship might easily skim along the len^ of the 
tube, impelled by an initial Jump. 

Towards the other end the tube narrowed clumsily, its meshing 
bunching as though some giant hand had constricted it. Daneel, 
carrying the flashlight, got down on all fours and so did Baley. 
They travelled the last twenty feet in that fashion, moving at last 
into what was obviously a ground-car. 

Daneel closed the door through which they had entered, sliding 
it shut carefully. There was a heavy, clicking noise that might 
have been the detachment of the air-tube. 

Baley looked about curiously. There was nothing too exotic 
about me ground-cat. There were two seats in tandem, each of 
whigh could hold three. There were doors at each end of each 
seat. The glossy sections that might ordinarily have been win- 
dows were blade and opaque as a result, undoubtedly, of appro- 
priate polarisation. Baley was acquainted with that. 

The interior of the car was lit by two round soots of yellow 
illumination in the ceiling and, in short, the only thing Baley felt 
to be strange was the transmitter set into the partition immedi- 
ately before the front seat and, of course, the added fact that there 

24 



A FRIEND IS ENCOUNTERED 
were no visible controls. 

Baley said, ‘I suppose the driver is on the other side of this 
partition?’ 

Daneel said, ‘Exactly so. Partner Elijah. And we can give our 
orders in this fashion.’ He leaned forward slightly and Kicked a 
toggle switch that set a spot of red light Bickering. 

He said quietly, ‘You may start now. We are ready.’ 

There was a muted whir that faded almost at once, a very 
slight, very transitory pressing against the back of the seat, and 
then nothing. 

Baley said in surprise, ‘Are we moving?’ 

Daneel said, ‘We are. The car does not move on wheels but 
glides along a diamagnetic force-field. Except for acceleration 
and deceleration, you will feel nothing.’ 

‘What about curves?’ 

‘The car will bank automatically to compensate. Its level is 
maintained when travelling up or downhill.’ 

‘The controls must be complicated,’ said Baley dryly. 

‘Quite automatic. The driver of the vehicle is a robot.’ 

‘Umm.’ Baley had about all he wanted on the ground-car, He 
said, ‘How long will this take?’ 

‘About an hour. Air travel would have been speedier, but I was 
concerned to keep you enclosed and the aircraft models available 
on Solaria do not lend themselves to complete enclosure as does a 
ground-car such as that in which we are now riding.’ 

Baley felt annoyed at the other’s ‘concern.’ He felt like a baby 
in the charge of its nurse. He felt almost as annoyed, oddly 
enough, at Daneel’s sentences. It seemed to him that such need- 
lessly formal sentence structure might easily betray the robotic 
nature of the creature. ' 

For a moment Baley stared curiously at R. Daneel Olivaw, 
The robot, looking straight ahead, was motionless and unself- 
consdous under the other’s gaze. 

Daneel’s skin texture was perfect, the individual hairs on head 
and body had been lovingly and intricately manufacmred and 
placed. The muscle movement under the sldn was most realistic. 
No pains, however extravagant, had been spared. Yet Baley 
knew, from personal knowledge, that limbs and chest could be 
split open along invisible seams so that repairs might be made. 
He knew there was metal and silicon under that realistic skin. He 

25 



THE NAKED SUN 


knew a positronic brain, most advanced but only positronic, 
nestled in the hollow of the skull. He knew that DaneelV 
‘thoughts’ were only short-lived positronic currents flowing alon" 
paths rigidly designed and foreordained by the manufacturer. 

But what were the signs tliat would give away to the expert eye 
that had no foreknowledge? The trifling unnaturalness of 
Daneel’s manner of speech? The unemotional gravity that rested 
so steadily upon him? The very perfection of his humanity? 

But he was wasting time. Bdey said, ‘Let’s get on with it 
Daneell I suppose that before arriving here, you were briefed on 
matters Solarian?’ 

‘I was. Partner Elijah.’ 

‘Good. That’s more than they did for me. How large is the 
world?’ 

It’s diameter is 9,500 miles. It is the outermost of three 
planets and the only inhabited one. In climate and atmosphere it 
resembles Earth; its percentage of fertile land is higher; its useful 
mineral content lower, but of course less exploited. The world is 
self-supporting and can, with the aid of its .robot experts, main- 
tain a high standard of Uving.’ 

Baley said, ‘What’s the population?’ 

‘Twenty thousand people. Partner Elijah.’ 

Baley accepted that for a moment, then he said mildly, ‘You 
mean twenty noillion, don’t you?’ His scant knowledge of the 
Outer Worlds was enough to tell him that, although the worlds 
were underpopulated by Earthly standards, the individual popu- 
lations were in the millions. 

‘Twenty thousand people. Partner Elijah,’ said the robot again. 

‘You mean the planet has just been settled?’ 

‘Not at all. It has been independent for nearly two centuries, 
and it was settled for a century or more before that. The popuk- 
tion is deliberately maintain^ at twenty thousand, that being 
considered optimum by the Solarians themselves,’ 

‘How mudi of the planet do they occupy?’ 

‘All the fertile portions.’ 

‘Which is, in square miles?’ 

'Thirty million square miles, including marginal areas.’ 

‘For twenty thousand people?’ 

‘There are also some two hundred million working positronic 
robots. Partner Elijah.’ 


26 



A FSIEMD IS BMCOUNTEREO 

‘Jehoshaphat ! That’s — ^that’s ten thousand robots per human.* 

‘It is by far the highest such ratio among the Outer Worlds, 
Partner Elijah. The next highest, on Aurora, is only fifty to one.* 

‘What can they use so many robots for? What do they want 
with all that ^pod?’ 

‘Food is ia'*'telatively minor item. The mines are more im- 
portant, and power production more important still.’ 

Baley thought of all those robots and felt a trifle dizzy. Two 
hundred million robots! So many among so few humans. The 
robots must litter the landscape. An observer from without might 
think Solaria a world of robots altogether and fail to notice the 
thin human leaven. 

He felt a sudden need to see. He remembered the conversation 
with Minnim and the sociologic prediction of Earth’s danger. It 
seemed far off, a bit unreal, but he' remembered. His personal 
dangers and difficulties since leaving Earth dimmed the memory 
of Minnim’s voice stating enormities with cool and precise enun- 
ciation, but never blotted it out altogether. 

Baley had lived too long with duty to allow even the over- 
whelming fact of open space to stop him in its performance. Data 
collected from a Spacer’s words, or from those of a Spacer robot 
for that matter, was the sort of thing that was already available to 
Earth’s sociologists. What was needed was direct observation and 
it was his job, however unpleasant, to collect it. 

He inspected the upper portion of the ground-car. ‘Is this thing 
a convertible, DaneelP’ 

‘I beg your pardon. Partner Elijah, but I do not follow your 
meaning.’ 

‘Can the car’s top be pushed back? Can it be made open to 
the — ^the sky?’ (He had almost said ‘dome’ out of habit.) 

‘Yes, it can.’ 

‘Then have that done, Daneel. I would like to take a look.’ 

Hie robot responded gravely, ‘I am sorry, but I cannot allow 
that.’ 

Baley felt astonished. He said, ‘Look, R, Daneel,’ he stressed 
the R., ‘let’s rephrase that. I order you to lower the top.’ 

The creature was a robot, man-like or not. It had to follow 
orders. 

But Daneel did not move. He said, ‘I must exnlain that it is 
my first concern to spare you harm. It has been clear to me on the 

97 



THE NAKED SUN 


basis both of my instmctions and of my own personal experience 
that you would suffer harm at finding yourself in large, empty 
spaces. I cannot, therefore, allow you to expose yourself to that.’ 

Baley could feel his face darhe^g with an inJlux of blood and 
at the same time could feel the complete uselessness of anger. 
The creature was a robot, and Baley knew the First Law of 
Robotics weU. 

It went; A robot may not injure a human being, or, through 
inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 

Everything else in a robot’s positronic brain — that of any robot 
on any world in the Galaxy — ^had to bow to that prime considera- 
tion, Of course a robot had to follow orders, but widi one major, 
all-important qualification. Following orders was only the Second 
Law of Robotics. i 

It went: A robot must obey the orders given it by human 
beings except where such orders would conflict with the First 
Law, 

Baley forced himself to speak quietly and reasonably. ‘I think I 
can endure it for a short time, Daneel.’ 

That is not my feeling, Partner Elijah.’ 

‘Let me be the judge, Daneeh’ 

‘K that is an order. Partner Elijah, I cannot follow it.’ 

Baley let himself lounge back against the softly upholstered 
seat. The robot would, of course, be quite beyond the reach of 
force. Daneel’s streng^, if exert^ fimy, would be a hundred 
times that of flesh and blood. He would be perfectly capable of 
restraining Baley without even hurting him , 

Baley was armed. He could point a blaster at Daneel, but, 
except for perhaps a momentary sensation of mastery, that action 
would only result in greater frustration. A threat of destruction 
was useless against a robot. Self-preservation was only the Third 
Law. 

It went: A robot must protect its own existence, as long as 
suck protection does not conflict with the First or Second Lows. 

It would^ not trouble Daneel to be destroyed if the alternative 
Were breaking the First Law. And Baley did not wish to destroy 
Daneel Defimtely not. 

Yet he did want to see out of the car. It was becoming an 
obsession with him. He couldn’t allow this nurse-infant relation- 
ship to build up. 


28 



A PRIEND IS ENCOUNTERED 

For- a moment he thought of pointing the blaster at his own 
temple. Open the car top or Fll ^ myseU. Oppose one applica- 
tion of the First Law by a greater and more immediate one. 

Baley knew he couldn’t do it. Too tmdigni&ed. He disliked the 
picture conjured up by the thought. 

He said wearily, ‘Would you ask the driver how close in miles 
we are to our destination?’ 

‘Certainly, Partner Elijah.’ 

Daneel bent forward and pushed the toggle switch. But as he 
did so, Baley leaned forward too, crying out, ‘Driver 1 Lower the 
top of the carl’ 

And it was the human hand that moved quickly to the toggle 
switch and closed it again. The human hand held its place fii^y 
thereafter. 

Panting a bit, Baley stared at Daneel. 

For a second Daneel was motionless, as though his positronic 
paths were momentarily out of stability in their effort to adjust to 
the new situation. But that passed quickly and then the robot’s 
'hand was moving. 

Baley had anticipated that. Daneel would remove the hmnan 
hand from the switch (gently, not hurting it), reactivate the trans- 
mitter, and countermand the order. 

Baley said, ‘You won’t get my hand away without hurting me. 
I warn you. You will probably have to break my finger.’ 

That was not so. Baley knew that. But Daneel’s movements 
stopped. Harm against harm. The positronic brain had to weigh 
probabilities and translate them into opposing potentials. It 
meant just a bit more hesitation. 

Baley said, ‘It’s too late.’ 

His race was won. The top was sliding back and pouring into 
the car, now open, was the harsh white lights of Solaria’s sun. 

Baley wanted to shut his eyes in initial terror, but fought the 
sensation. He faced the enormous wash of blue and green, in- 
credible quantities of it. He could feel the undisdplinra ru^ of 
air against his face, but could make out no details of anything. A 
moving something hashed past. It might have been a robot or an 
animd or an unliving something caught in a puff of air. He 
couldn’t tell. The car went past it too quickly. 

Blue, green, air, noise, motion— and over it all, beating down, 
furiously, relentlessly, frighteningly, was the white light that 

29 



THE NAKED SUN 


came from a ball in the sky. 

For one fleeting split moment he bent his head back and stared 
directly at Solaria’s sun. He stared at it, unprotected by the 
diflusing glass of the Cities’ Uppermost-Level sun-porches. He 
stared at me naked sun. 

And at the very moment he felt Daneel’s hand clamping down 
upon his shoulders. His mind crowded with thoughts during that 
unreal, whirling moment. He had to see. He had to see all he 
could, and — ^Daneel must be there with him to keep him from 
seeing. 

But surely a robot would not dare use violence on a man. That 
thought was dominant. Daneel could not prevent him forcibly, 
and yet Baley felt the robot’s hands forcing him down. 

Baley hft^ his arms to force those fleshless hands away and 
lost all sensation. 


30 



CHAPTER THREE 


A VICTIM is' named 

Baley was back in the safety of enclosure. Daneel’s face wavered 
before his eyes, and it was splotched with dark spots that turned 
to red when he blinked. 

Baley said, ‘What happened?’ 

‘I regret,’ said Daneel, ‘that you have suffered harm despite my 
presence. The direct rays of the sun are damaging to the human 
eye, but I believe that the damage from the short exposure you 
suffered will not be permanent. When you looked up, I was 
forced to pull you down and you lost consciousness.’ 

Baley grimaced. That left the question open as to whether he 
had fainted out of over-excitement (or fright?) or had been 
knocked unconscious. He felt his jaw and head and found no pain. 
He forebore asking the question direct. In a way he didn’t want to 
know. 

He said, ‘It wasn’t so bad.' 

‘From your reactions, Partner Elijah, I should judge you had 
found it unpleasant.’ 

‘Not at said Baley stubbornly. The splotches before his 
eyes were fading and they weren’t tearing so. ‘I’m only sorry I 
saw so little. We were moving too fast. Did we pass a robot?’ 

‘We passed a number of them. We are travelling across the 
Kinbald estate, which is given over to fruit orchards.’ 

‘I’ll have to try again,’ said Baley. 

‘You must not in my presence,’ said Daneel. ‘Meanwhile, I 
have done as you requested.’ 

‘As I requested?’ 

‘You will remember, Partner Elijah, that before you ordered 
the driver to lower ihe top of the car, you had ordered me to ask 
the driver how close in nmes we were to our destination. We are 
ten miles away i^ow and shall be there in some six minutes.’ 

Baley felt the impute to ask Daneel if he were angry at having 
been outwitted if only to see that perfect face become imperfect, 

31 



THE NAKED SDN 


but he repressed it. Of course Daneel would simply answer no, 
without rancour or annoyance. He would sit there as calm and as 
grave as ever, unperturbed and imperturbable. 

Baley said quietly, ‘Just the same, Daneel, I’ll have to get used 
to it, you Imow.’ 

The robot regarded his human partner. ‘To what is it that you 
refer?’ 

• ‘Jehoshaphat! To the — ^the outdoors. It’s all this planet is 
made of.’ 

‘There will be no necessity for facing the outdoors,’ said 
Daneel. Then, as though that disposed of the subject, he said, 
‘We are slowing down. Partner Elijah. I believe we have arrived. 
It will be necessary to wait now for die connection of another ai^ 
tube leading to the dwelling that will serve as our base of opera- 
tions.’ 

‘An. air-tube is unnecessary, Daneel. If I am to be working 
outdoors, there is no point in delaying the indoctrination.’ 

‘There will be no reason for you to work outdoors, Partner 
EUjah.’ 

The robot started to say more, but Baley waved Jiim quiet with 
a peremptory motion of the hand. At the moment he was not in 
the mood for Daneel’s careful consolations, for soothings, for 
assurances that all would be well and that he would be taken care 
of. What he really wanted was an inner knowledge that he could 
take care of himself and fulfil his assignment. The sight and feel 
of the open had been hard to take. It might be that when the time 
came he would lack the hardihood to face it again, at the cost of 
his self-respect and, conceivably, of Earth’s safety. All over a 
snoall matter of emptiness. 

His face grew grim even at the glancing touch of that thought. 
He would face air, sun, and empty space yet. 

Elijah Baley felt like an inhabitant of one of the smaller Cities, 
say Helsinki, visiting New York and counting dre Levels in awe. 
He had thought of a ‘dwelling’ as something like an apartment 
unit, but his was nothing like it at all. He passed from room to 
room endlessly. Panoramic windows were shrouded closely, allow- 
ing no hint of disturbing day to enter. Lights came to life noise- 
lessly from hidden sources as they stepped into a room and died 
again as quietly when they left. 

32 



A , luiIM IS NAMED 

‘So many rooms,’ said Baley with wonder. ‘So many. It’s like a 
very tiny City, Daneel.’ 

‘It would seem so. Partner Elijah,’ said Daneel with equanim- 
ity. 

It seemed strange to the Earthman. Why was it necessary to 
crowd so many Spacers together with him in close quarters? He 
said, ‘How many will be living here with me?’ 

Daneel said, ‘There will be myself, of course, and a number of 
robots.’ 

Baley thought: He ought to have said, a number of other 
robots. 

Again he found it obvious that Daneel had the intention of 
playing the man thoroughly even for no other audience than 
Baley, who knew the truth so well. 

And then that thought popped into nothing under the force of a 
second, more urgent one. He cried, ‘Robots? How many humans?' 

‘None, Partner Elijah.’ 

They had just stepped into a room, crowded from floor to 
ceiling with book fihm. Three fixed viewers with large twenty- 
four-inch viewing panels set vertically were in three corners of 
the room. The fourth contained an animation screen. 

Baley looked about in annoyance. He said, ‘Did they kick 
everyone out just to leave me rattling around alone in this 
mausoleum?’ 

‘It is meant only for you. A dwelling such as this for one person 
is customary on Solaria.’ 

‘Everyone lives like this?’ 

‘Everyone.’ 

‘What do they need all the rooms for?’ 

‘It is customary to devote a single room to a single purpose. 
This is the library. There is also a music-room, a gymnasium, a 
kitdben. a bakery a dining-room, a machine shop, various robot- 
repair and testing rooms, two bedrooms ’ 

‘Stop ! How do you know all this?’ 

‘It is part of the information pattern,’ said Daneel smoothly, 
‘made available to me before I left Aurora.’ 

‘Jdioshaphat! Who takes care of all of this?’ He swung his 
arms in a wide arc. 

‘There are a number of household robots. They have been 
assigned to you and you will see to it that you are comfortable.’ 

33 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘But I don’t need all this,’ said Baley. He had the urge to sit 
down and refuse to budge. He wanted to see no more rooms. 

‘We can remain in one room if you desiie, Partner Elijah. That 
was visualised as a possibility from the start. Nevertheless, Sd- 
arian customs being what they are, it was considered wiser to 
allow this house to be built 

‘BtttW’ Baley stared. ‘You mean this was built for me? All 
this? Specially?’ 

‘A thoroughly roboticised economy ’ 

‘Yes, I see what you’re going to say. What will they do with the 
house when all this is over?’ 

‘I believe they will tear it down.’ 

Baley’s lips clamped together. Of course! Tear it down! Build 
a tremendous structure for the special use of one Earthman and 
then tear down everything he touched, sterilise the soil the house 
stood on, fumigate the air he breathed ! The Spacers might seem 
strong, but they, too, had their foolish fears. 

Dwed seem^ to read his thoughts, or to interpret his expres- 
sion at any rate. He said, ‘It may appear to you, Partner Elijah, 
that it is to escape contagion that they will destroy the house. If 
such are your thoughts, I suggest that you refrain from making 
yourself uncomfortable over the matter. The fear of disease on 
the part of the Spacers is by no means so extreme. It is just that 
the effort involved in building the house is, to them, very little. 
Nor does the waste involved in tearing it down once more seem 
great to them. 

‘And by law. Partner Elijah, this place cannot be allowed to 
remain standing. It is on the estate of Haimis Gruer and there can 
only be one legal dwelling-place on any estate, that of the owner. 
This house was built by special dispensation, for a specific pur- 
pose. It is meant tahouse us for a specific length of time, till our 
mission is completed.’ 

‘And who is Hannis Gruer?’ asked Baley. 

‘The head of Solarian security. We are to see him on arrival.’ 

‘Are we? Jdtoshaphat, Daned, when do I begin to learn any- 
thing at all about anything? I’m working in a vacuum and I don’t 
like it. I might as well go back to Earth. I might as well ’ 

He fdt himself working up into resentment and cut himself 
short. 

Daneel never wavered. He merely waited his chance to speak. 

34 



A VICTIM IS NAMED 

He said, ‘I regret the fact that you are annoyed. My general 
knowledge of Solaria does seem to be greater than yours. My 
knowledge of the murder case itself is as limited as is your own. 
It is Agent Gruer who will tell us what we must know. The 
Solarian Government has arranged this.’ 

‘Well, then, let’s get to this Gruer. How long a trip will it be?’ 
Baley winced at the thought of more travel and the tamiliar con- 
striction in his chest was making itself felt again. 

Daneel said, ‘No travel is necessary. Partner Elijah; Agent 
Gruer vrill be vwiiting for us in the conversation room.’ 

‘A room for conversation, too?’ Baley murmured wryly. Then, 
in a louder voice, ‘Waiting for us now?’ 

‘I believe so.’ 

‘Then let’s get to him. Daneel 1’ 

Hannis Gruer was bald, and that without qualification. There 
was not even a fringe of hair at the sides of his skull. 

Baley swallowed and tried, out of politeness, to keep his eyes 
off that skull, but couldn’t. On Earth diere was the continuous 
acceptance of Spacers at the Spacers’ own evaluation. The 
Spacers were the unquestioned lords of the Galaxy; they were 
tall, bronze of skin and hair, handsome, large, cool, aristocratic. 
In short, they were all R. Daneel Olivaw was, but with the fact of 
humani^ in addition : and the Spacers who were sent to Earth 
often did look like that; perhaps were deliberately chosen for that 
reason. 

But here was a Spacer who might have been an Earthman for 
all his appearance. He was bald. His nose was misshapen, also. 
Not much, to be sure, but on a Spacer even a slight asymmetry 
was noteworthy. 

Baley said, ‘Good afternoon, sir. I am sony if we kept you 
vraiting.’ 

No hsum in politeness. He would have to work with these 
people. ' 

He had the momentary urge to step across the expanse of room . 
(how ridiculously large) and offer his hand in greeting. It was an 
urge easy to fight off. A Spacer certainly would not welcome such 
a greeting: a hand covered with Earthly germs? 

Gruer sat gravely, as far away from Baley as he could get, his 
hands resting within long sleeves, and probably there were filters 
in his nostrlU, although Baley couldn’t see them. 

35 



THE NAKED SUN 


It even seemed to him that Gmer cast a disapproving look at 
Daneel as though to say: You’re a queer Spacer, standing that 
close to an Eardhman. 

That would mean Gruer simply did not know the truth. Then 
Baley noticed suddenly that Daneel was standing at some dis- 
tance, at that; farther than he usually did. 

Of course! Too close, and Gruer might find the proximity 
unbelievable. Daneel was intent on being accepted as human. 

Gruer spoke in a pleasant, friendly voice, but his eyes tended to 
remain furtively on Daneel, looking away, then drifting back. He 
said, ‘I haven’t been waiting long. Welcome to Solatia, gentle- 
men. Are you comfortable?’ 

‘Yes, sir, quite,’ said Baley. He wondered if etiquette would 
require that Daneel as the ‘Spacer’ should speak for the two, but 
reiected that possibility resentfully. Jehoshaphat I It was he, him- 
self, who requested for the investigation and Daneel had been 
added afterwards 1 Under the circumstances Baley felt he would 
not play second fiddle to a genuine Spacer; it was out of the 
question when a robot was involved, even such a robot as Daneel. 

But Daneel made no attempt to take precedence over Baley, 
nor did Gruer seem surprised or displeased at that. Instead, he 
turned his attention at once to Baley to the exclusion of Daned. 

Gruer said, ‘You have been told nothing. Plainclothesman 
Baley, about the crime for which your services have been sol- 
icited. I imagine you are curious about that.’ He shook his arms 
so that the sleeves fell backward and clasped his hands loosely in 
hfe lap. ‘Won’t you gentlemen sit down?’ 

'They did so and Baley said, ‘We are curfbus.’ He''noted that 
Gruer’s hands were not protected by gloves. 

Gruer went on. ‘That was on purpose, Plainclothesman. We 
wanted you to arrive here prepared to tackle the problem with a 
fresh mmd. We wanted no preconceived notions. You will have 
available to you shortly a full report of the details of the crime 
and of the investigations we have been able to conduct. I am 
afraid, Plainclothesman, that you will find our investigations 
ridiculously incomplete from the standpoint of your own experi- 
ence. We have no police force on Solaria.’ 

‘None at all?’ asked Baley. 

Gruer smiled and shrugged his shoulders. ‘No crime, you see. 
Our population is tiny and widely scattered. There is no occasion 

36 



A VICTIM IS MAMED 


for crimes therefore no occasion for police.’ 

‘I see. But for all that, you do have crime now.’ 

‘True, but the first crime of violence in two centuries of 
history.’ 

‘Unfortunate, then, that you must begin with murder.’ 

‘Unfortunate, yes. More unfortunate still, the victim was a man 
we could scarcely afford to lose. A most inappropriate victim. 
And the circumstances of the murder were particularly brutal.’ 

Baley said, ‘I suppose the murderer is completely unknown.’ 
(Why else would the crime be worth the importation of an 
Earthly detective?) 

Gruer looked particularly uneasy. He glanced sideways at 
Daneel, who sat motionless, an absorptive, quiet mechanism. 
Baley Imew that Daneel would, at any time in the future, be able 
to reproduce any conversation he heard, of whatever length. He 
was a recording machine that walked and talked like a ma n. 

Did Gruer know that? His look at Daneel had certainly some- 
thing of the furtive about it. 

Gruer said, ‘No, I cannot say the murderer is completely un- 
known. In fact, there is only one person that can possibly have 
done the deed.’ 

‘Are you sure you don’t mean only one person who is likely to 
have done the deed?’ Baley distrust^ overstatement and bad no 
liking for the armchair deducer who discovered certainty rather 
than probability in the workings of logic. , 

But Gruer shook his bald head. ‘No. Only one possible person. 
Anyon4.£l6e is impossible, completely impossible.’ 

‘Completely?’ 

‘I assure you.’ - * 

‘Then you have no problem.’ 

‘On the contrary. We do have a problem. That one person 
couldn’t have done it either.’ 

- Baley said calmly, ‘Then no one did it.’ 

‘Yet the deed was done. Rikaine Delmarre is dead.’ 

That’s something, thought Baley, Jehoshaphat, I’ve got some- 
thing. I’ve got the victim’s name. 

He brought out bis notebook and solemnly made note of it, 
partly out of a wry desire to indicate that he had scraped up,' at 
last, a fragment of fact, and partly to avoid making it too obvious 
that he sat by the side of a recording machine who needed no 

37 



THE NAKED SUN 


notes. 

He said, ‘How is the victim’s name spelled?’ 

Gruer spelled it. 

‘His profession, sir?’ 

‘Foptologist.’ 

Baley spelled that as it sounded and let it go. He said, ‘Now 
who would be able to give me a personal account of the circum- 
stances surrounding the murder? As first-hand as possible.’ 

Gruer’s smile was grim and his eyes shifted to Dancel again, ' 
and then away, ‘His wife, Plainclothesman.’ 

‘His wife . . . ?’ 

‘Yes. Her name is Gladia.’ Gruer pronounced it in three syl- 
lables, accenting the second. 

‘Any children?’ Baley’s eyes were fixed on his notebook. When 
no answer came, he looked up. ‘Any children?’ 

But Gruer’s mouth had pursed up as though he had tasted 
something sour. He looked sick. Finally he said, ‘I would scarcely 
know.’ 

Baley said, ‘What?’ 

Gruer added hastil3j, ‘In any case, I think you had better 
postpone actual operations till tomorrow. I know you’ve had a 
hard trip, Mr. Baley, and that you are tired and probably 
hungry.’ 

Baley, about to deny it, realised suddenly that the thought of 
food had an uncommon attraction for him at the moment. He 
said, ‘Will you join us at our meal?’ He didn’t think Gruer 
would, being a Spacer, though he had been brought to the point 
of saying ‘Air Baley’ rather than ‘Plainclothesman Baley,’ which 
was something. 

As expected, Gruer said, ‘A business engagement makes that 
impossible. I shall have to leave. I am sorry.’ 

Baley rose. The polite thing would be to accompany Gruer to 
the door. However, he wasn’t at all anxious to approach the door 
and the unprotect^ open. And he wasn’t sure where the door 
was. He remained standing in uncertainty. 

Gruer smiled and nodded. He said, ‘I will see you again. Youi 
robots will know the combination if you wish to talk to me’ — and 
he was gone. 

Baley exclaimed sharply. 

Gruer and the chair he was sitting on were simply not there. 

38 



A VICTIM IS NAMED 

The wall behind Gruer, the floor under his feet changed with 
explosive suddenness. 

Daneel said calmly, ‘He was not there in the flesh at any time. 
It was a trimensional image. It seemed to me you would know. 
You have such things on Earth.’ 

‘Not like this,’ muttered Baley. 

A trimensional image on Ea^ was encased in a cubic force- 
field that glittered against the background. Hie image itself had a 
tiny flicker. On Earth there was no mistaking image for reality. 
Here . . . 

No wonder Gruer had worn no gloves. He needed no nose 
filters, for that matter. 

Daneel said, ‘Would you care to eat now. Partner Elijah?’ 

Dinner was an unexpected ordeal. Robots appeared. One set 
the table. One brought in the food. 

‘How many are there in the house, Daneel?’ Baley asked. 

‘About fifty, Partner EUjah.’ 

‘Will they stay here while we eat?’ (One had backed into a 
comer, his glossy, glowing-eyed face turned towards Baley.) 

‘It is the usual practice,* said Daneel, ‘for one to do so in case 
its service is called upon. If you do not wish that, you have only 
to order it to leave.’ 

Baley shrugged his shoulders. ‘Let it stay I ’ 

Under normal conditions Baley might have found the food 
delicious. Now he ate mechanically. He noted abstractedly that 
Daneel also ate, with a kind of unimpassioned efficiency. Later 
on, of course, the robot would empty ffie fluorocarbon sac within 
him into which the ‘eaten’ food was now being stored. Meanwhile 
Daneel maintained bis masquerade. 

Ts it ni^t outside?’ asked Baley. 

‘It is,’ replied Daneel. 

Baley stared sombrely at the bed. It was too large. The whole 
bedroom was too large. There were no blankets to burrow under, 
only sheets. They would make a poor enclosure. 

. Everything was difficult. He had already gone through the un- 
nerving experience of taking a shower in a stall that actually 
adjoint the bedroom. It was the height of luxury in a way, yet^ 
on the other band, it seemed an insanitary arrangement. 

39 



THE NAKED SUN 

He said abruptly, '‘How is the light put out?’ The headboard of 
the bed gleamed with a soft light. Perhaps diat was to facilitate 
book viewing before sleeping, but Baley was in no mood for that. 

‘It will be taken care of once you’re in bed, if you compose 
yourself for sleep.’ 

‘The robots watch, do they?’ 

’ll is tiieir job.’ 

‘Jehoshaphat! What do these Solarians do for themsehesV 
Baley muttered. ‘I wonder now why a robot didn’t scrub my back 
in the shower.’ 

With no trace of humour Daneel said, ‘One would have, had 
you required it. As for the Solarians, they do what they choose. 
No robot performs his duty if ordered not to, except, <rf course, 
where the performance is necessary to the wellbeihg of the 
human.’ 

‘Well, good night, Daneel.’ 

‘I will be in another bedroom. Partner Elijah; if, at any time 
during the night, you need anything ’ 

‘I Imow. The robots will come.’ 

‘There is a contact patch on the side table. You have only to 
touch it. I will come too.’ 

Sleep eluded Baley. He kept picturing the bouse be was in, 
balanced precariously at the outer skin of the world, with empti* 
ness waiting just outside like a monster. 

On Earth, his apartment, his snug, comfortable, crowded apart- 
ment, sat nesded beneath many others. There were dozens of 
Levels and thousands of people between himself and the rim of 
Earth. 

Even on Earth, he tried to tell himself, there Were people on 
the topmost Level. They would be immediately adjacent to the 
outside. Thjat’s what made those apartments low-rent. 

Then he thought of Jessie, a thousand light-years away. 

He wanted terribly to get out <rf bed at that moment, dress, and 
walk to her. His thoughts grew mistier. If there were only a 
tunnel, a nice, safe tunnel burrowing its way through safe, solid 
rock and metd from Solaria to Eardi, he would walk and walk 
and walk. . . . 

He would walk back to Earth, back to Jessie, back to comfort 
and security. . . , 

Security. 


40 



A VICTIM IS MAMED 


Baley’s eyes opened. His arms grew rigid and he rose up on his 
elbow, scarcely aware that he was doing so. 

Security! This man, Hannis Gruer, was head of Solarian 
security. So Daneel had said. What did ‘security’ mean? If it 
meant the same as it meant on Earth, and surely it must, this 
man Gruer was responsible for the protection of Solaria against 
invasion from without and subversion from within. 

Why was he interested in a murder case? Was it because there 
were no poUce on Solaria and the Department of Security would 
come the closest to knowing what to do about a murder? 

Gruer had seemed at ease with Baley, yet Aere had been those 
furtive glances, again and again, in the direction of Daneel. 

Did Gruer suspect the motives of Daneel? Baley, himself, had 
been ordered to keep his eyes open and Daneel might very Ukely 
have received similar instructions. 

It would be natural for Gruer to suspect that espionage was 
possible. His job made it necessary for h^ to suspect that in any 
case where it was conceivable, and he would not fear Baley over ‘ 
much, an Earthman, representative of tihe le^st formidable world 
in the Galaxy. But Daneel was a native of Aurora, the oldest and 
largest and strongest of the Outer Worlds. That would be differ- 
ent. Gruer, as Baley now remembered, had not addressed one 
word to Daneel. 

For that matter, why should Daneel pretend so thoroughly to 
be a man? The earlier explanation that Baley had posed for him- 
self, that it was a vainglorious game on the part of Daneel’s 
Auroran designers, seem^ trivial. It seemed obvious now that the 
masquerade was something more serious. 

A man could be expected to receive diplomatic immunity; a 
certain courtesy and gentleness of treatment. A robot could not. 
But then why did not Aurora send a real man in the first place? 
Why gamble so desperately on a fake? The answer suggested 
itsen instantly to Baley. A real man of Aurora, a real Spacer, 
would not care to associate too closely or for too long a time with 
an' Earthman. 

But if all this were true, why should Solaria find a single ' 
murder so important that it must allow an Earthman and an 
Auroran to come to their planet? 

Baley felt trapped. 

He was trappra on Solaria by the necessities of his assignment. 



THE NAKED SUN 


He was trapped by Earth’s danger, trapped in an environment he 
could scarcely endure, trapped by a responsibility he could not 
shirk. To add to all this, he was trapped somehow in the midst of 
a Spacer conflict the nature of which he did not understand. 



CHAPTER FOUR 


A WOMAN IS VIEWED 

He slept at last. He did not remember when he actually made the 
transition to sleep. There was just a period when hu thoughts 
grew more erratic and then the headboard of his bed was shining 
and the ceiling was alight with a cool, daytime glow. He looked at 
his watch. Hours had passed. The robots who ran the house had 
decided it was time for him to wake up and had acted accord- 
ingly. 

He wondered if Daneel were awake and at once realised the 
illogic of the thought Daneel could not sleep. Baley wondered if 
he had counterfeited sleep as part of the role he was playing. Had 
he undressed and put on nightdothes? 

As though on cue Dan^ entered. ‘Good morning, Partner 
Elijah.’ 

The robot was completely dressed and his face was in perfect 
repose. He said, ‘Did you sleep well?’ 

‘Yes,’ said Baley dryly, ‘did you?’ He got out of bed and 
tramped into the bathroom for a shave and for the remainder of 
the morning ritual. He shouted, ‘K a robot comes in to shave me, 
send him out Rgain. They get on my nerves. Even if I don’t see 
them, they get on my nerves.’ 

He stared at his own face as he shaved, marvelling a bit that it 
looked so like the mirrored face he saw on Earth. E only the 
image were another Earthman with whom he could consult in- 
stead of only the light-mimicry of himself. If he could go over 
what he had already learned, small as it w^ 

‘Too small. Get more,’ he muttered to the mirror. 

He came out, mopping his face, and pulled trousers over fresh 
shorts. (Robots supplied everything, damn them.) 

He said, ‘Would you answer a few questions, Daneel?’ 

‘As you know, Partner Elijah, I answer all questions to the best 
of my knowledge.’ 

Or the letter of your instructions, thought Baley. He said, 

43 



THE NAKED SDN 


‘Why are there only twenty thousand people on Solaria?’ 

‘That is a mere fact,’ said Daneel. ‘A datum. A figure that is 
the result of a counting process.* 

‘Yes, but you’re evading the matter. The planet can support 
millions; why, then, only twenty thousand? You said tije 
Solarians consider twenty thousand optimum. Why?’ 

‘It is their way of life.’ 

‘You mean they practice birth control?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘And leave the planet empty?’ Baley wasn’t sure why he was 
pounding away at this one point, but the planet’s population was 
one of the few hard facts Iw had learned about it and there was 
little else he could ask about. 

Daneel said, ‘The planet is not empty. It is parceled out into 
estates, each of which is supervised by a Solarian.’ 

‘You mean each lives on his estate. Twenty thousand estates, 
each with a Solarian.’ 

‘Fewer estates than those, Partner Elijah. Wives share the 
estate.’ 

‘No Qties?’ Baley felt cold. 

‘None at all, Partner Elijah. They live completely apart and 
never see one another except under the most extraordinary ci^ 
cumstances.’ 

‘Hermits?’ 

‘In a way, yes. In a way, no.’ 

‘What does that mean?’ 

‘Agent Gruer visited you yesterday .by trimensional image. 
Solarians visit one another freely that way and in no other way.’ 

Baley stared at Daneel. He saM, ‘Does that include us? Are we 
expect^ to live that way?’ 

‘It is the custom of the world.’ 

‘Then how do I investigate this case? If I want to see some* 
one ’ 

‘From this house. Partner Elijah, you can obtain a trimensional 
view of anyone on the planet. TTiere will be no problem. In fact, 
it will save you the annoyance of leaving this house. It was why I 
said when we arrived that there would be no occasion for you to 
feel it necessary to grow accustomed to facing the outdoors. And 
diat is well. Any other arrai^ment would be most distasteful to 
you.’ 


44 



A WOMAN IS VIEWED 

*1*11 judge what’s distasteful to me,’ said BaJey. ‘First thing 
today, Daneel, I get in touch with the Gladia woman, the wife of 
the murdered man. If the trimensional business is unsatisfaaory, 
I will go out to her place, personally. It’s a matter for my deci- 
sion.’ 

*We will see what is best and most feasible. Partner Elijah,* 
said Daneel non-committally. *1 will arrange for breakfast.’ He 
turned to leave. 

Baley stared at the broad robotic back and was almost amused. 

Daneel Olivaw acted the master. If his instructions had been to 
keep Baley from learning any more than was absolutely necessary, 
a trump card had been left in Baley’s hand. The other was only 
R. Daneel Olivaw, after all. All that was necessary was to teU 
Gruer, or any Solarian, that Daneel was a robot and not a man. 
Yet, Daneel’s pseudo humanity could be of great use. A trump 
card need not be played at once. Sometimes it was more useful in 
the hand. 

Wait and see, he thought, and followed Daneel out tO' break- 
fast. 

Baley said, ‘Now how does one go about establishing trimen- 
sional contact?’ 

‘It is done for us. Partner Elijah,’ said Daneel and his finger 
sought out one of the contact patches that summoned robots. 

A robot entered at once. 

Where do they come from, Baley wondered. Did they scramble 
out of the way as humans approached? Did they send messages to 
one another and clear the path? As one wandered aimlessly 
about the uninh abited maze that constituted the mansion, not one 
robot was ever visible. Yet whenever a call went out, one ap- 
peared without delay. 

Baley stared at dhe robotic newcomer. It was sleek, but not 
glossy. Its siuface had a muted, greyish finish, with a chequer- 
board pattern on the right shoulder as the only bit of colour. 
Squares in white and yellow, silver and gold, really, from the 
metallic lustre, were placed in what seemed an aimless pattern. 

Daneel said, ‘Take us to the conversation room.’ 

The robot bowed and turned, but said nothing. 

Baley said, ‘Wait boy! What’s your name?’ 

The robot faced Baley. It spoke in clear tones and without 

45 



THE NAKED SUN 


hesitation. ‘I have no name, master. My serial number’ — and a 
metal finger lifted and tested on the shoulder patch — ^“is ACX- 
2745.’ 

Daneel and Baley followed into a large room, which Baley 
recognised as having held Gruer and his chair the day before. 

Another robot was waiting for them with the eternal, patient 
non-boredom of the machine. The first bowed and left. 

Baley compared shoulder patches of the two as the first bowed 
and started out. The pattern of silver and gold was different. The 
chequer-board was made up of a six-by-six square. The number 
of possible arrangements would be 2™ then, or seventy billion. 
More than enough ! 

Baley said, ‘Apparendy, there are robots for everything. One to 
show us here. One to run the viewer.’ 

Daneel said, ‘There is much robodc specialisation on Solaria, 
Partner EUjah.’ 

‘With so many of them, I can understand why,’ Baley looked at 
the second robot. Except for the shoulder patch, and, presumably, 
for the invisible positronic patterns withm its spongy platinunv- 
iridium brain it was the duplicate of the first. He said, ‘Your 
serial number?’ 

‘ACC-1129, master.’ 

‘I’ll just caU you boy. Now I want to speak to a Mrs Gladia 
Delmarre, widow of the late Rikaine Delmarre — ^Daneel, is there 
an address, some way of pin-pointing her location?’ 

Daneel said gently, ‘I do not believe any further information is 
necessary. If I may question the robot ’ 

‘Let me do that,’ Baley said. ‘All right, boy, do you know how 
the lady is to be reached?’ 

‘Yes, master. I have knowledge of the coimecdon pattern of all 
masters.’ This was said without pride. It was a mere fact, as 
though it werb saying: I am made of metal, master, 

Daneel interposed. ‘That is not surprising, Parmer Elijah. 
There are less t^ ten thousand connections that need be fed into 
the memory circuits, and that is a small number.’ 

Baley nodded, ‘Is there more than one Gladia Delmarre, by 
any cimee? There might be that chance of confusion.’ 

‘Master?’ After the question the robot remained blankly silent. 

‘I believe,’ said Daneel, ‘that this robot does not understand 
your question. It is my b^d that duplicate names do not occur 

46 



A WOMAN IS VIEWED 

on Solaria. Names are registered at birth and no name may be 
adopted unless it is unoccupied at the time.’ 

‘All right,’ said Baley, ‘we learn something every minute. Now 
see here, boy, you tell me how to work whatever it is I am sup- 
posed to work; give me the connection pattern, or whatever you 
call it, and then step out.’ 

There was a perceptible pause before the robot answered. It 
said, ‘Do you wish to make contact yourself, sir?’ 

‘That’s right’ ^ 

Daneel touched Baley’s sleeve gently. ‘One moment. Partner 
Elijah.’ 

‘Now what is it?’ 

‘It is my belief that the robot could make the necessary contact 
with greater ease. It is his specialisation.’ 

Baley said grimly, ‘I’m sure he can do it better than I can. 
Doing it mys^, I may make a mess of it’ He stared levelly at 
the impassive Daneel. ‘Just the same, I prefer to make contact ' 
myself. Do I give the orders or don’t I?’ 

Daneel said, ‘You give the orders. Partner Elijah, and pur 
orders, where First Law permits, will be obeyed. However, with 
your permission, I would like to ^ve you what pertinent informa- 
tion I have concerning the Solarian robots. Far more than on any 
other world, the robots on Solaria are specialised. Although 
Solarian robots are physically capable of many things, they are 
heavily equipped mentally for one particular type of job. To 
I>erf orm functions outside their speciality requires the high poten- 
tials produced by direct application of one of the Three Laws. 
Again, for them not to perform the duty for which they are 
equipped also requires the direct application of die Three Laws.* 

‘Well, then, a direct order from me brings the Second Law into 
play, doesn’t it?’ 

‘True. Yet the potential set up by it is “unpleasant” to the 
robot. Ordinarily, the matter would not come up, since almost 
never does a Sokrian interfere with tiie day-to-day working of a 
robot. He would not care to do a robot’s work; he would ^1 no 
need to,’ 

‘Are you trying to tell me, Daneel, that it hurts the robot to 
have me do its work?’ 

‘As you know. Partner Elijah, pain in the human sense is not 
applicable to robotic reactions.’ 

47 



THE naked sun 

Baley shrugged his shoulders. ‘Then?’ 

‘Nevertheless,’ went on Daneel, ‘the experience which the 
.'obot undergoes is as upsetting to it as pain is to a human, as nea^ 
y as I can judge.’ 

‘And yet,’ said Baley, ‘I’m not a Solarian. I*nl an Earthman, I 
lon’t like robots doing what I want to do.’ 

‘Consider, too,’ said Daneel, ‘that to cause distress to a robot 
.night be considered on the paft of our hosts to be an act of 
jmpoliteness since in a society such as this there must be a 
number of more or less rigid beliefs concerning how it is proper to 
treat a robot and how it is not. To offend our hosts would scarcely 
nake our task easier.’ 

‘All right,’ said Baley. ‘Let the robot do its job.’ 

He settled back. The incident had not been without its uses. It 
was an educational example of how remorseless a robotic society 
could be. Once brought into existence, robots were not so easily 
removed, and a human who wished to dispense with them even 
temporary found he could not 
IBs eyes half closed, he watched the robot approach the wall. 
Let the sociologists on Earth consider what had just occurred and 
draw ^eir conclusions. He was beginning to have certain notions 
of his own. 

Half a wall slid aside and the control panel that was revealed 
would have done justice to a Qty Section power station. 

Baley longed for his pice. He had been briefed that smoking on 
non-smoldng Solaria would be a terrible breach of decorum, so he 
had not even been allowed to mke it. He sighed. There were 
moments when the feel of a pipe-stem between his teeth and a 
warm bowl in his hand would have been infinitely comforting. 

The robot was working quickly, adjusting variable resistances a 
trifle here and there and intensifying field-forces in proper pat- 
tern by quick finger pressures. 

Daneel said, ‘It is necessary first to signal the individual one 
desires to view. A robot will, of course, receive the message, ff 
the individual being signalled is available and wishes to receive 
the view, full contatt is establi^ed.’ 

‘Are all those controls necessary?’ asked Baley. ‘The robot’s 
hardly touching most of the panel.’ 

‘My information on the matter is not complete, Partner EUjah. 

48 



A WOMAN IS VIEWED 

There is, however, the necessity of arranging, upon occasion, for 
multiple viewings and for mobile viewings. The latter, particu- 
larly, call for complicated and continuing adjustment.’ 

The robot said, ’Masters, contact is made and approved. When 
you are ready, it will be completed.’ 

‘Ready,’ growled Baley, and as though the word were a signal, 
the far half of the room was ahve with light. 

Daneel said at once, T neglected to have the robot specify that 
all visible openings to the outside be draped. I regret ^at and we 
must arrange-: — ’ 

‘Never mind,’ said Baley, wincing. ‘I’ll manage. Don’t inter- 
fere.’ 

It was a bathroom he was staring at, or he judged it to be so 
from its fixtures. One end of it was, he guessed, a kind of beauty- 
parlour and his imagination pictured a robot (or robots?) working 
with unerring swifmess on the details of a woman’s coMure and 
on the externals that made up the picture she represented to the 
world. 

Some gadgets and fittings he simply gave up. There was no 
way of judging their purpose in the absence of experience. The 
walls were inlitd with an intricate pattern that all but fooled the 
eye into believing some natural object was being represented 
before fading away into an abstraction. The result was soodiing 
and almost hypnotic in the way it monopolised attention. 

What might have been the shower stall, a large one, was 
shielded off by nothing that seemed material, but rather by a trick 
of lighting that set up a wall of flickering opacity. No human was 
in sight. 

Baley’s glance fell to the floor. Where did his room end and the 
other begin? It was easy to tell. There was a line where the 
quality of the light changed and that must be it. 

He stepped towards die line and after a moment’s hesitation 
pushed bis hand beyond it. 

He felt nothing, any more than he would have bad he shoved 
die hand into one of Earth’s crude trimensionals. There, at leasts 
he would have seen his own hand still; faindy, perhaps, and oveiv 
laid by the image, but he would have seen it. Here it was lost 
completely. To his vision, his arm ended sharply at the wrist. 

Il^t a he stepped across the line altogether? Probably his 

49 



THE NAKED SDN 


own vision would become inoperative. He would be in a world of 
complete blackness. The thought of such efficient enclosure vras 
almost pleasant. 

A voice interrupted him. He looked up and stepped backwards 
with an almost clumsy haste. 

Gladia Ddmarre was speaking. At least Baley assumed it was 
she. The upper portion of the ffickering light across the shower 
stall had faded and a head was clearly visible. 

It snuled at Baley. T said, hello, and I’m sorry to keep you 
waiting. I’ll be dry soon.’ 

Hers was a triangular face, rather broad at the cheek-bones 
(which grew prominent when she smiled) and narrowing with a 
gentle curve past full lips to a small chin. Baley judged her to be 
about five feet two in height. This was not typical. At least not to 
Baley’s way of thinking. Spacer women were supposed to lean 
towards the tall and stately. Not was her hair the Spacer bronze, 
It was light brown, tinging towards yellow, and worn moderately 
long. At the moment it was fiuffed out in what Baley imagined 
must be a stream of warm air. The whole picture was quite pleas- 
ing. 

Baley said in confusion, you want us to break contact and 
wait till you’re through * 

*Oh, no. I’m almost done, and we can talk meanwhile. Hannis 
Gxuer told me you would be viewing. You’re from Earth, I 
understand.’ Her eyes rested full on him, seemed to drink hini 
in. 

Baley nodded and sat down. *My companion is from Aurora.’ 

She smiled and kept her glance fixed on Baley as though he 
remained the curiosity neverffieless ; of course, Bdey thought, he 
was. 

She lifted her arms above her head, running her fingers through 
the hair and spreading it out as though to hasten drying. Her 
arms were slim and graceful. Very attractive, Baley thought. 

Then he thought uneasily : Jessie wouldn’t like this. 

Daneel’s voice broke iu. ‘Would it be possible, Mrs Delmarre, 
to have the window we see polarised or draped. My partner is 
disturbed by the sight of daylight On Earth, as you may have 
heard ’ 

The young woman— Baley judged her to be twenty-five but 
had the doleful thought that the apparent ages of Spacers couM 
'' 50 



A WOMAN IS VIEWED 

be most deceptive — ^put her hands to her cheels and said, ‘Ohj 
my, yes. I know all about that. How ridiculously silly of me. 
Foi^ive me, please, but it won’t take a moment, rU have a robot 
in here ’ 

She stepped out of the drying cabinet, her hand extended to- 
wards the contact-patch, still talking. ‘I’m always thinidng I 
ought to have more than one contact-patch in this room. A house 
is just no good if it doesn’t have a patch within reach no matter 
where you stand — say not more than five feet away. It just — 
Why, what’s the matter?’ 

She stared in shock at Baley, who, having jumped out of his 
chair and upset it behind him, had reddened to his hairline and 
hastily turned away. 

Daneel said calmly, ‘It would be better, Mrs Delmarre, if after 
you have made contact with the robot, you would return to the 
stall or, failing that, proceed to put on some articles of clothing.’ 

Gladia looked down at her nudity in surprise and said, ‘WS, 
of course.’ 




51 



CHAPTER FIVE 


A CRIME IS DISCUSSED 

*It was only viewing, you see,* said Gladia contritely. She was 
wrapped in something that left her arms and shoulders free. One 
leg showed to mid-thigh, but Baley, entirely recovered and feel- 
ing an utter fool, ignored it stoically. 

He said, ‘It was the surprise, Mrs Delmarre * 

‘Oh, please 1 You can call me Gladia, imless — unless that’s 
against your customs.* 

‘Gladia, then, it’s all right. I just want to assure you that there 
was nothing repulsive about it, you understand. Just the surprise,’ 
Bad enough for him to have acted the fool, he thought, without 
having the poor girl think he found her unpleasant. As a matter of 
fact, it had been rather — rather ... well, he didn’t have the 
phrase, but he knew quite certainly that there was no way he 
would ever be able to talk of this to Jessie. 

‘I know I offended you,’ Gladia said, ‘but I didn’t mean to. I 
just wasn’t thinking. Of course I realise one must be careful about 
the customs of other planets, but the customs are so queer some- 
times. At least, not queer,’ she hastened to add, ‘I don’t mean 
queer, I mean strange, you know, and it’s so easy to forget, just as 
I forgot about keeping the windows darkened.’ 

‘Quite all right,’ muttered Baley. She was in another room now 
with all the windows draped and the light had the subtly different 
and more comfortable texture of artificiality. 

‘But about the other thing,’ she went on earnestly, ‘it’s just 
vietoing, you see. After all, you didn’t mind talking to me when I 
was in the drier and I wasn’t wearing anything then, either,’ 

‘Well,’ said Baley, wishing she would run down as fat as that 
subject was concerned, ‘hearing you is one thing, and seeing you 
is another.’ 

‘But that’s exactly it. Seeing isn’t involved.’ She reddened a 
trifle and looked down. ‘I hope you don’t think I’d ever do any- 
thing like that. I mean, just step out of the drier, i£ anyone were 

52 



A CBIME IS DISCUSSED 

seeing me. It was just viewing' 

‘Same thing, isn’t it?’ said Baley. 

‘Not at all the same thing. You’re viewing me right now. You 
can’t touch me, can you, or smell me, or anything like that. You 
could if you were seeing me. Right now, I’m two hundred miles 
away from you at least So how can it be the same thing?’ 

Baley grew interested. ‘But I see you with my eyes.’ 

‘No, you don’t see me. You see my image. You’re viewing 
me.’ 

‘And that makes a difference?’ 

‘All the difference there is.’ 

‘I see.’ In a way he did. The distinction was not one he could 
make easily, but it had a kind of logic to it. 

She said, bending her head a little to one side, ‘Do you really 
see?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘Does that mean you wouldn’t mind if I took off my wrapper?’ 
She was smiling. 

He thought : She’s teasing and I ought to take her up on it; but 
aloud he said, ‘No, it would take my mind off my job. We’ll 
discuss it another time,’ 

‘Do you mind my being in the wrapper, rather than something 
more formal? Seriously.’ 

‘I don’t mind.’ 

‘May I call you by your first name?’ 

‘If you have the occasion.’ 

‘What is your first name?’ 

‘Elijah.’ 

‘All right.’ She snuggled into a chair that looked hard and 
almost ceramic in texture, but it slowly gave as she sat until it 
embraced her gently, 

Baley said, ‘To business, now.’ 

She said, ‘To business.’ 

Baley found it all extraordinarily difficult. There was no way 
even to make a beginning. On Earth he would ask name, rating, 
City and Sector of dwelling, a million different routine questions. 
He might even know the answers to begin with, yet it would be a 
device to ease into the serious phase. It would serve to introduce - ' 
him to the person, make his judgment of the tactics to pursue 

53 



THE NAKED SUN 


something other than a mere guess. 

But here? How could he be certain of anything? The very veib 
‘to see’ meant different things to himself and to the woman. How 
many other words would be different? How often would they be 
at cross-purposes without his being aware of it? 

He said, ‘How long were you married, Gladia?’ 

•Ten years, Elijah.’ 

‘How old are you?’ 

‘Thirty-three.’ 

Baley felt obscurely pleased. She might easily have been g 
hundr^ and thirty-three. 

He said, ‘Were you happily married?’ 

Gladia looked uneasy. ‘How do you mean that?’ 

‘Well ’ For a moment Baley was at a loss. How do you 

define a happy marriage? For that matter, what would a Solariao 
consider a happy marriage? He said, ‘Well, you saw one anoAet 
often?’ 

‘What? I should hope not. We’re not animals, you know,’ 

Baley winced. ‘You did live in the same mansion? I 
thought ’ 

‘CM course, we did. We were married. But I had my quarters 
and he had his. He had a very important career which took much 
of his time and I have my own work. We viewed each other 
whenever necessary,’ 

‘He saw you, didn’t he?’ 

‘It’s not a thing one talks about but he did see me.’ 

‘Do you have any children?’ 

Gladia jumped to her feet in obvious agitation. ‘That’s too 
much. Of all the indecent ’ 

‘Now wait. Wdtr Baley brought his fist down on the arm of 
his chair, ‘Don’t be difficult. This is a murder investigation. Do 
you understand? Murder. And it was your husband who was 
murdered. Do you want to see the murderer found and punished 
or don’t you?’ 

‘Then ask about the murder, not about — about ’ 

‘I have to ask all sorts of things. For one thing I want to know 
whether you’re sorry your husband is dead,’ He added with cal- 
culated brutality, ‘You don’t seem to be.’ 

She stared at him haughtily, ‘I’m sorry when anyone dies, es- 
pecially when he’s young and usefuL’ 

54 



A CRIME IS DISCUSSED 


‘Doesn’t the fact that he was your husband make it just a litde 
more than that?’ 

‘He was assigned to me and, well, we did see each other when 
scheduled and — and’ — she hurried the next words — ‘and, if you 
must Imow, we didn’t have dhildren because none had been 
assigned to us. I don’t sec what all that has to do with being sorry 
over someone being dead.’ 

Maybe it had nothing to do with it, Baley thought. It depended 
on the social facts of life and with those he was not acquainted. 

He changed the subject. ‘I’m told you have personal knowledge 
of the circumstances of the murder.’ 

For a moment she seemed to grow taut. ‘I — discovered the 
body. Is that the vmy I should say it?’ 

‘Then you didn’t witness the actual murder?’ 

‘Oh, no,’ she said faintly. 

‘Wdl, suppose you tell me what happened. Take your time and 
use your own words.’ He sat back and composed himself to listen. 

She began, ‘It was on three-two of the fifth ’ 

‘When was that in Standard Time?’ asked Baley quickly. 

‘I’m not sure. I really don’t know. You can check, I sup^e.’ 

Her voice seemed shaky and her eyes had grown large, ^ey 
were a little too grey to be called blue, he noted. 

She said, ‘He came to my quarters. It was our assigned day for 
seeing and I knew he’d come.’ 

‘He always came on the assigned day?’ 

‘Oh, yes. He was a very conscientious man, a good Solatian. 
He never skipped an assigned day and always came at the same 
time. Of course, he didn’t stay long. We had not been assigned 
ch ’ 

She couldn’t finish the word, but Baley nodded. 

‘Anyway,’ she said, ‘he always came at the same time, you 
know, so diat everything would be comfortable. We spoke a few 
minutes; seeing is an oideal, but he always spoke quite normally 
to me. It was his way. Then he left to attend to some project he 
was involved with; I’m not sure what. He had a special laboratory 
in my quarters to which he could retire on seeing days. He had a 
much bigger one in his quarters, of course.’ 

Baley wondered what he did in those laboratories. Fcetology, 
perhaps, whatever that was. 

Hesaid, ‘Did he seem unnatural in any way? Worried?’ 

55 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘No, no, he was never worried.’ She came to the edge of a small 
laugh and buried it at the last moment. ‘He always had perfect 
control, like your friend there.’ For a brief moment her small 
hand reached out and indicated Daneel, who did not stir. 

‘I see. Well, go on.’ 

Gladia didn’t. Instead she whispered, ‘Do you mind if I give 
myself a drink?’ 

‘Please do.’ 

Gladia’s hand slipped along the arm of her chair. In less than a 
minute, a robot moved in silently and a warm drink — Baley could 
see the steam — ^was in her hand. She sipped slowly, then sat the 
drink down. 

She said, ‘That’s better. May I ask a personal question?’ 

Baley said, ‘You may always ask.’ 

‘Well, I’ve read a lot about Earth. I’ve always been interested, 
you know. It’s such a queer world.’ She gasped and added im- 
mediately, ‘I didn’t mean that.’ 

Baley frowned a little. ‘Any world is queer to people who don’t 
live on it.’ 

‘I mean it’s different. You know. Anyway, I want to ask a rude 
question. At least, I hope it doesn’t seem rude to an Earthman. I 
wouldn’t ask it of a Solarian, of course. Not for anything.’ 

‘Ask what, Gladia?’ 

‘About you and your friend — Mr Olivaw, is it?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘You two aren’t viewing, are you?’ 

‘How do you mean?’ 

*I mean each other. You’re seeing? You’re there, both of you?’ 

Baley said, ‘We’re physically together. Yes.’ 

‘You could touch him, if you wanted to?’ 

‘That’s right.’ 

She looked from one to the other and said, ‘Oh.’ 

It might have meant anything. Disgust? Revulsion? 

Baley toyed with the idea of standing up, walking to Daneel 
and placing his hand flat on Daneel’s face. It might be interesting 
to watch her reaction. 

He said, ‘You were about to go on with the events of that day 
when your husband came to see you.’ He was morally certain that 
her digression, however interesting it might have been intrinsic- 
ally to her, was primarily motivate by a desire to avoid just that 

56 



A CRIME IS DISCUSSED 


question. 

She returned to her drink for a moment. Then: ‘There isn’t 
much to tell. I saw he would be engaged, and I knew he would be, 
anyway, because he was always at some sort of constructive work; 
so I went back to my own. Then, perhaps fifteen minutes later, I 
heard a shout.’ 

There was a pause and Baley prodded her. ‘What kind of a 
shout?’ 

She said, ‘Rikaine’s. My husband’s. Just a shout. No words. A 
land of fright — ^No, surprise, shock. Something like that. I’d 
never heard him shout before.’ 

She lifted her hands to her ears as though to shut out even the 
memory of the sound and her wrapper slipped slowly down to her 
waist. She took no notice and Baley stared fiirmly at his notebook. 

He said, ‘What did you do?’ 

‘I ran. I ran. I didn’t know where he was -’ 

‘I thought you said he had gone to the laboratory he main- 
tained in your quarters.’ 

‘He did, E-Elijah, but I didn’t know where that was. Not for 
sure, anyway. I never went there. It was his. I had a general idea 
of its direction. I knew it was somewhere in the west, but I was so 
upset that I didn’t even think to summon any robot. One of them 
would have guided me easily; but of course none came without 
being summoned. When I did get there — found it somehow— he 
was dead.’ 

She stopped suddenly and, to Baley’s acute discomfort, she 
bent her head and wept. She made no attempt to obscure her face. 
Her eyes simply dUsed and tears slowly trickled down her dieeks. 
It was quite soundless. Her shoulders barely trembled. 

Then her eyes opened and looked at him through swimming 
tears. ‘I never saw a dead man bdore. He was all bloody and his 

head was — ^just — all 1 managed to get a robot and he called 

the others and I suppose they took charge of me and of Rikaine, I 
don’t remember. I don’t ’ 

Baley said, ‘What do you mean, they took charge of Rikaine?’ 

‘They took him away and cleaned up.’ There was a smtJl 
wedge of indignation in her voice. She vras the lady of the house, 
careful of its condition. ‘Things were a mess.’ 

‘And what happened to the body?’ 

She shook her bead. *I don’t know. Burned, I suppose, like any 

57 



THE NAKED SUN 


dead body.’ 

‘You didn’t call the police?’ 

She looked at him blankly and Baley thought ; No police ! 

He said, ‘You told somebody, I suppose? People found out 
about the matter?’ 

She said, ‘The robots called a doctor, and I had to call 
Rikaine’s place of work. The robots there had to know he 
wouldn’t be back.’ 

‘The doctor was for you, I suppose.’ 

She nodded. For the first time, she seemed to notice her 
wrapper draped about her hips. She pulled it up into position, 
murmuring forlornly, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’ 

Baley f& uncomfortable, watching her as she sat there help- 
less, shivering, her face contorted with the absolute terror that 
had come over her with the memory. 

She had never seen a dead body before. She had never seen 
blood and a crushed skull. And if the husband-wife relationship 
on Solaria was something thin and shallow, it was still a dead 
human being with whom she had been confronted. 

Baley scarcely knew what to say or do next. He had the im- 
pulse to apologise, and yet, as a policeman, be was doing only his 
duty. But there were no police on this world. Would she under- 
stand that this was his duty? Slowly, and as gently as be could, he 
said, ‘Gladia, did you hear anything at aU? Anything besides 
your husband’s shout?’ 

She looked up, her face as pretty as ever, despite its obvious 
distress — ^perhaps because of it. She said, ‘Nothing.’ 

‘No running footstqps? No other voice?’ 

She shook her head. ‘1 didn’t hear anything.’ 

‘When you found your husband, he was completely alone? You 
two were the only ones present?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘No signs of anyone else having been there?’ 

‘None that I could see. I don’t see how anyone could have been 
there, anyway.’ 

‘■Wiy do you say that?’ 

For a moment she looked shocked. Then she said dispiritedly, 
‘You’re from Earth. I teep foigetdng. Well, its just that nobody 
could have been there. ’!My husband never saw anybody exc^t 
me^ not since he was a boy. He certainly wasn’t the sort to see 

58 



A CRIME IS DISCUSSED 

anybody. Not Rikaine. He was very strict; very custom-abiding.’ 

‘It might not have been his choice. What if someone had just 
come to see him without an invitation, without your husband 
knowing anything about it? He couldn’t have helped seeing the 
intruder regardless of how custom-abiding he was.’ 

She said, ‘Maybe, but he would have c^ed robots at once and 
had the man taken away. Besides no one would try to see my 
husband widiout being invited. I couldn’t conceive of such a 
thing and Rilraine certainly would never invite anyone to see 
him. It’s ridiculous to think so.’ 

Baley said sofdy, ‘Your husband was killed by being struck on 
the hei^, wasn’t he? You’ll admit that,’ 

‘I suppose so. He was — all ’ 

‘I’m not asking for details at the moment. Was there any sign 
of some mechanical contrivance in the room that would have 
enabled someone to crush his skull by remote control?’ 

‘Of course not. At least, I didn’t see any,’ 

‘If anything like that had been there, I imagine you would have 
seen it. It follows then that a hand held something capable of 
crushing a man’s skull and that hand swung it. Some person had 
to be within four feet of your husband to do that. So someone did 
see him.’ 

‘No one would,’ she said earnestly. ‘A Solarian just wouldn’t 
see anyone.’ 

‘A Solarian who would commit murder wouldn’t hesitate at a 
bit of seeing, would he?’ 

To himself that statement sounded dubious. On Earth he had 
known the case of a perfectly conscienceless murderer who had 
been caught only because he could not bring himself to violate the 
custom of absolute silence in the conomunity bathroom. 

Gladia shook her head. ‘You don’t understand about seeing. 
Earthmen just see anybody they want to ... all the time, so you 
don’t understand it, . . .’ 

Curiosity seemed to be struggling within her. Her eyes light- 
ened a bit. ‘Seeing does seem perfectly normal to you, doesn’t 
it?’ 

‘I’ve always taken it for granted,’ said Baley. 

‘It doesn’t trouble you?’ 

‘Why should it?’ 

‘WeU, the films don’t say, and I’ve always wanted to know 

59 



THE NAKED SUN 


Is it all right if I ask a question?* 

‘Go ahead,’ said Baley stolidly. 

‘Do you have a wife assigned to you?’ 

‘I’m married. I don’t know about the assignment part.’ 

‘And I know you see your wife any time you want to and she 
sees you and neither of you thinks anything of it.’ 

Baley nodded. 

‘Wefl, when you see her, suppose you just want to ' She 

lifted her hands elbow- high, pausing as though searching for the 
proper phrase. She tried again, ‘Can you just — any time . . .’ She 
let it dangle. 

Baley didn’t try to help. 

She said, ‘Well, never mind. I don’t know why I should bother 
you with that sort of thing now, anyway. Have you finished wii 
me?’ She looked as though she might cry again. 

Baley said, ‘One more try, Gladia. Forget that no one would 
see your husband; Suppose someone did. Who might it have 
been?’ 

‘It’s just useless to guess. It couldn’t be anyone.’ 

‘It has to be someone. Agent Gruer says there is reason to 
suspect some one person. So you see there must be someone.’ 

A small, joyless smile Bickered over the girl’s face, ‘I know 
who he thinks did it.’ 

‘All right. Who?’ 

She put a small hand on her breast. ‘I.’ 




V 





CHAPTER SIX 


A THEORY IS REFUTED 

‘I SHOULD have said, Partner Elijah,’ said Daneel, speaking sud- 
denly, ‘that that is an obvious conclusion.’ 

B^ey cast a surprised look at his robot partner. ‘Why ob- 
vious?’ he asked. 

‘The lady herself,’ said Daneel, ‘states that she was the only 
person who did or who would see her husband. The social situa- 
tion on Solatia is such that even she cannot plausibly present 
anything else as die truth. Certainly Agent Gruer would find it 
reasonable, even obligatory, to believe that a Solarian husband 
would be seen only by his wife. Since only one person could be in 
seeing range, only one person could strike the blow and only one 
person could be the murderer — or murderess, rather. Agent 
Gruer, you will remember, said that only one person could have 
done it. Anyone else he considered impossible. Well?’ 

‘He also said,’ said Baley, ‘that that one person couldn’t have 
done it, either.’ 

‘By which he probably meant that there was no weapon found 
at the scene of me crime. Presumably Mrs Delmatte could ex- 
plain that anomaly.’ 

He gestured with cool robotic politeness towards Gladia who 
sat, stiU in viewing focus, hey eyes cast dovra, her small mouth 
compressed. 

Jehoshaphat, thought Baley, we’re forgetting the lady. 

Perhaps it was annoyance that bad caused turn to forget. It was 
Daneel who annoyed him, with his unemotional approach to 
problems, or perhaps it was himself, with his emotional approach, 
but he did not stop to analyse the matter. 

He said, ‘That will be all for now, Gladia. However one goes 
about it, break contact. Good-bye.’ 

She said softly, ‘Sometimes one says, “Done viewing,” but I 
like ‘‘Good-bye’’ better. You seem disturbed, Elijah. I’m sorry, 
because I’m used to having people think 1 cfid it, so you don’t 



THE NAKED SUN 


need to feel disturbed,’ 

Daneel said, ‘Did you do it, Gladia?’ 

‘No,’ she said angrily. 

‘Good-bye, then.’ 

With the anger not yet washed out of her face she was gone. 
For a moment, though, Baley could still feel the impact of those 
quite extraordinary grey eyes. 

She might say she was used to having people think her a 
murderess, but that was very obviously a lie. Her anger spoke 
more truly than her words, Baley wondered of how many other 
lies she was capable. 

And now Baley found himself alone with Daneel. He said, ‘All 
right, Daneel, I’m not altogether a fool.’ 

‘I have never thought you were, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘Then tell me what made you say there was no murder weapon 
found at the site of the crime? There was nothing in the evidence 
so far, nothing in anything I’ve heard that would lead us to that 
conclusion.’ 

‘You ate correct. I have addidonal information not yet avail- 
able to you.’ 

‘I was sure of that. What kind?’ 

‘Agent Gnier said he would send a copy of the report of their 
own investigation. I have that copy. It arrived this morning.’ 

‘Why haven’t you shown it to me?’ 

‘I felt that it would perhaps be more fruitful for you to conduct 
your investigation, at least in the initial stages, according to your 
own ideas, without being prejudiced by the conclusions of other 
people who, self-admittedly, have reached no satisfactory conclu- 
sion. It was because I, myself, felt my logical processes might be 
influenced by those conclusions that 1 contributed nothing to the 
discussion,’ 

Logical processes ! Unbidden, there leaped into Baley’s mind 
the fragment of a conversation he had once had with a roboticist. 
A robot, the man had said, is logical but not reasonable. 

He said, ‘You entered the discussion at the end.’ 

‘So I did, Parmer Elijah, but only because by that time I had 
independent evidence bearing out Agent Gruer’s suspicions.’ 

‘What kind of independent evidence?’ 

‘That whidi could be deduced from Ddmarre’s own 

er 



A THEOKY IS REFUTED 

behaviour.’ 

‘Let’s be specificj Daneel.’ 

‘If the lady were guilty and were attempting to prove herself 
innocent, it would be useful to her to have the detective in the 
case believe her innocent.’ 

‘Well?’ 

‘If she could warp his judgment by playing upon a weakness of 
his, she might do so, might &e not?’ 

‘Strictly hypo±etical.’ 

‘Not at aU,’ was the calm reply. ‘You wiU have noticed, I 
think, that she concentrated her attention entirely on you.’ 

‘I was doing the talking,’ said Baley. 

‘Her attention was on you from (he start; even before she could 
guess that you would be doing the tall^g. One might have 
diought that, logically she would have expected me, as an 
Auroran, to take the lead in the investigation. Yet she concen- 
trated on you.’ 

‘And v^at do you deduce from this?’ 

‘That it was upon you. Partner Elijah; that she pinned her 
hopes. You were me Earthman.’ 

‘What of that?’ 

‘She had smdied Earth. She implied that more than once. She 
knew what I was talking about when I asked her to blank out the 
outer daylight at the very start of the interview. She did not 
pretend to be surprised or uncomprehending, as she would most 
certainly have done had she been without actual knowledge of 
conditions on Earth.’ 

*WeU?’ 

‘Since she has studied Earth, it is quite reasonable to suppose 
that she discovered one weakness Earthmen possess. She must 
know of the nudity taboo, and of how such a display must impress 
an Earthman.’ 

‘She — she explained about viewing ’ 

‘So she did. Yet did it seem entirely convincing to you? Twice 
she allowed herself to be seat in what you would consider a state 
of improper clothing ’ 

‘Your condusion,’ said Baley, ‘is that she was trying to seduce 
me. Is that it?’ 

‘Seduce you away ftom your professional impersonality. So it 
would seem to me. And though 1 cannot share human reacdonato 

63 



THE NAKED SUN 


Stimuli, I would judge, from wliat has been imprinted on my 
instruction circuits, that the lady meets any reasonable standard 
of physical attractiveness. From your behaviour, moreover, it 
seems to me that you were aware of it and that you approved her 
appearance. I would even judge that Mrs Delmarre acted rightly 
in thinking her mode of behaviour would predispose you in her 
favour.’ 

‘Look,’ said Baley uncomfortably, ‘regardless of what effect she 
might have had on me, I am sdU an officer of the law in full 
possession of my sense of professional ethics. Get that straight. 
Now let’s see the report.’ 

Baley read dirough the report in silence. He finished, turned 
back, and read it through a second time. 

‘This brings in a new item,’ he said, ‘the robot.* 

Daneel Olivaw nodded. 

Baley said thoughtfully, ‘She didn’t mention it’ 

Daneel said, ‘You asked the wrong question. You asked if he 
was alone when she found the body. You asked if anyone else had 
been present at the death scene. A robot isn’t “anybody else.” ’ 

Baley nodded. If he himself were a suspect and were asked who 
else had been at the scene of a crime, he would scarcely have 
replied : ‘No one but this table.’ 

He said, ‘I suppose I should have asked if any robots were 
present?’ Damn it, what questions does one ask anyway on a 
strange world? He said, ‘How legal is robotic evkience, Daneel?’ 

‘What do you mean?’ 

‘Can a robot bear witness on Solaria? Can it give evidence?’ 

‘Why should you doubt it?’ 

'A robot isn’t human, Daneel. On Earth, it cannot be a legal 
witness,’ 

‘And yet a footprint can. Partner Elijah, although that is much 
less a human than a robot is. The position of your planet in this 
respect is illogical. On Solaria, robotic evidence, when com- 
petent, is admissible.’ 

Baley did not argue the point. He rested his chin on the 
knuckl^ of one hand and went over this matter of the robot in his 
mind. 

In the ejttremity of terror Gladia Delmarre, standing over her 
husband’s body, had summoned robots. By the time uey came 

64 



A THEORY IS REFUTED 
she was unconscious. 

The robots reported having found her there together with the 
dead body. But something else was present as well; a robot. That 
robot had not been summoned; it was already there. It was not 
one of the regular staif. No other robot bad seen it before or knew 
its function or assignment. Nor could anything be discovered 
from the robot itself. It was not in working order. When found, 
its motions were disorganised and so, apparently, was the funC' 
tioning of its positronic brain. It could give none of the proper 
responses, verbal or mechanical. 

It’s only activity that had any trace of organisation was its 
constant repetition of ‘You’re going to kill me — ^you’re going to 
kill me — you’re going to lull me . . .’ and after exhaustive investi- 
gation by a robotics expert it was declared a total loss. 

No weapon that could possibly have been used to crush the 
dead man’s skull was located. 

Baley said suddenly, Tm going to eat, Daneel, and then we see 
Agent Gruer again — or view him, anyway.’ 

Hannis Gruer was still eating when contact was establi s hed. He 
ate slowly, choosing each mouthful carefully from a variety of 
dishes, peering at each anxiously as though searching for some 
hidden combination, and Baley bought: He may be a couple of 
centuries old. Eating may be getting dull for him. 

Gruer said, *I greet you, gentlemen. You received our report, I 
believe.’ His bald head glistened, as he leaned across the table to' 
reach a titbit. 

'We have also spent an interesting session with Mrs Delmarre,’ 
said Baley. 

‘Good, good,’ said Gruer. ‘And to what conclusion, if any did 
you come?’ 

Baley said, ‘That she is innocent, sir.’ 

Gruer looked up sharply. ‘Really?’ 

Baley nodded. 

Gruer said, ‘And yet she was the only one who could see hitn, 
the only one who could possibly be within reach. . . .’ 

Baley said, ‘That’s been made clear to me, but no maner how 
firm social customs are on Solaria, the point is not conclusive. . 
May I explain?’ 

Gruer had returned to his dinner. ‘Of course.’ 

65 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘Murder rests on three legs,’ said Baley, ‘each equally im. 
portant. They are motive, means, and opportunity. For a good 
case against any suspect, each of the three must be sadsfied. Nov 
I grant you that Mrs Delmarre had the opportunity. As for 
motive, I’ve heard of none.’ 

Grucr shrugged his shoulders. ‘We know of none.’ For a 
moment his eyes drifted to the silent Daneel. 

‘All right. The suspect has no faiown motive, but perhaps she’s 
a pathological killer. She is in his laboratory with him. She waves 
a club or some other heavy object threateningly. It takes him a 
while to realise that his wife really intends to hurt him. He shouts 
in dismay, “You’re going to kill me,” and so she does. He turns to 
run as the blow descends and it crushes the back of his head. Did 
a doctor examine the body, by the way?’ 

‘Yes and no. The robots called a doctor to attend Mrs Del- 
marre and, as a matter of course, he looked at the dead body, 
too.’ 

‘That wasn’t mentioned in the report.’ 

‘It was scarcely pertinent The man was dead. In fact, by the 
time the doctor could view the body, it had been stripped, 
washed, and prepared for cremation in the usual manner.’ 

‘ ‘In other words, the robots had destroyed evidence,’ said Baley, 
annoyed. Then : ‘Did you say he viewed the body? He didn’t see 
it?’ 

‘Great Space,’ said Gruer, ‘what a morbid notion. He viewed it 
of course, from all necessary angles and at close focus. I’m sure. 
Doctors can’t avoid seeing patients under some conditions, but I 
. can’t conceive of any reason why they should have to see corpses. 
Medicine is a dirty job, but even doctors draw the line some- 
where.’ 

‘Well, the point is this. Did the doctor report anything about 
die nature of the wound that killed Dr Delmarre?’ 

*I see what you’re driving at. You think that perhaps the 
wound was too severe to have been caused by a woman.’ 

‘A woman is weaker than a man, sir. And Mrs Delmarre is a 
small woman.’ 

‘But quite athletic. Given a weapon of the proper type, gravity 
and leverage would do most of the work, and a woman in frenzy 
can do surprising things.’ 

Baley shrugg^ his shoulders. ‘You speak of a weapon. Where 

66 



A THEORY IS REFUTED 


isit?’ 

Gruer shifted position. He held out his hand towards an empty 
glass and a robot entered the viewing field and filled it with a 
colourless fluid that might have been water. 

Gruer held the filled glass momentarily, then put it down as 
though he had changed his mind about drinking. He said, ‘As is 
stated in the report, we have not been able to locate it.’ 

‘I know the report says that. I want to make absolutely certain 
of a few things. The weapon was searched for?’ 

‘Thoroughly.’ 

‘By yourself?’ 

‘By robots, but under my own viewing supervision at all times. 
We could locate nothing that might have been the weapon.’ 

‘That weakens the case against Mrs Delmarre, doesn’t it?’ 

‘It does,’ said Gruer cakdy. ‘It is one of several thinp about 
the case we don’t understand. It is one reason why we nave not 
acted against Mrs Delmarre. It is one reason why I told you that 
the guilty party could not have committed the crime, either. 
Perhaps I ^ould say that she apparently could not have com* 
mined die crime.’ 

‘Apparently?’ 

‘She must have disposed of the weapon in some way. So far, 
we have lacked the ingenuity to find it.’ 

Baley said dourly, ‘Have you considered all possibilities?’ 

‘I think so.’ 

‘I wonder. Let’s see. A weapon has been used to crush a man’s 
skull and it is not found at the scene of the crime. The only 
alternative is that it has been carried away. It could not have been 
carried away by Kikaine Delmarre. He was dead. Could it have 
been carried away by Gladia Delmarre?’ 

‘It must have been,’ said Gruer. 

‘How? When the robots arrival, she was on the floor uncon- 
scious. Or she may have been feigning unconsciousness, but any- 
way she was there. How long a time between the murder and the 
arrival of the first robot?’ 

‘That depends upon the exact time of the murder, which we 
don’t know,’ said Gruer uneasily. 

T read the report, sir. One robot reported hearing a disturb- 
ance and a cry it idendfied as Dr Delmans’s. It was apparently 
the closest to the scene. The summoning signal flashed five 

67 



THE NAKED SUN 


imnutes afterwards. It would take the robot less than a minute to 
appear on the scene.’ (Baley remembered his own experiences 
with the rapid-fire appearance of robots when summoned.) ‘In 
five minutes, even ten, how far could Mrs Delmarre have carried 
a weapon and returned in time to assume unconsciousness?’ 

‘She might have destroyed it in a disposer unit.’ 

‘The disposer unit was investigated, according to the report, 
and the residual gamma-ray activity was quite low. Nothing sw<» . 
able had been destroyed in it for twenty-four hours.’ 

‘I know that,’ said Gruer, ‘I simply present it as an example of 
what might have been done.’ 

‘True,’ said Baley, ‘but there may be a very simple explana- 
tion. I suppose the robots belonging to the Delmarre household 
have been checked and all were accounted for.’ 

‘Oh, yes.’ 

‘And all in reasonable working order?’ 

•Yes.’ 

‘Could any of those have carried away the weapon, perhaps 
without being aware of what it was?’ 

‘Not one of them had removed anything from the scene of the 
crime. Or touched anything, for that matter,’ 

‘That’s not so. They certainly removed the body and prepared 
it for cremation.’ 

‘Well, yes, of course, but that scarcely counts. You would 
expect them to do that.’ 

‘Jehoshaphatl’ muttered Baley. He had to struggle to keep 
calm. 

He said, ‘Now suppose someone else had been on the scene.’ 

‘Impossible,’ said Gruer. ‘How could someone invade Dr Dd- 
marre’s personal presence?’ 

‘Suppose!’ repeated Baley. "Now there was never any thought 
in the robots’ minds that an intruder might have been present. I 
don’t suppose that any of them made an immediate search of the 
grounds about the house. It wasn’t mentioned in the report.’ 

‘There was no search till we looked for the weapon, and that 
was a considerable time afterwards.’ 

‘No seardi for signs of a ground-car or an air vducle on the 
grounds?’ 

‘No.’ 

‘Then if someone had nerved himself to invade Dr Delmarre’s 

68 



A THEORY IS REFUTED 

personal presence, as you put it, he could have killed him and 
then walked away leisurely. No one would have stopped him or 
even seen him. Afterwards he could rely on everyone being sure 
that no one could have been there.’ 

‘And no one could,’ said Gruer positively. 

Baley said, ‘One more thing. Just one more. There was a robot 
involved. A robot was at the scene.’ 

Daneel interposed for the first time. ‘The robot was not at the 
scene. Had it been there, the crime would not have been com- 
mitted.’ 

Baley turned his head sharply. And Gruer, who had lifted his 
glass a second time as though about to drink, put it down again to 
stare at Daneel. 

‘Is that not so?’ asked Daneel. 

‘Quite so,’ said Gruer. ‘A robot would have stopped one person 
from harming another. First Law.’ 

‘All right,’ said Baley. ‘But it must have been near. It was on 
the scene when the other robots arrived. Say it was in the nejtt 
room. The murderer is advancing on Delmarre and Delmarre 
cries out, “You’re going to kill me.” The robots of the household 
did not hear those words; at most they heard a cry, so, imsum- 
moned, they did not come. But this paidcular robot heard tihe 
words and First Law made it come unsummoned. It was too late. 
Probably, it actually saw the murder committed.’ 

‘It must have seen the last stages of the murder,’ agreed Gruer. 
‘That is what disordered it. Witnessing harm to a human without 
having prevented it is a violation of the First Law and, depending 
upon circumstances, more or less damage to the positronic brain 
is induced. In this case, it was a great deal of damage.’ 

Gruer stared at his finger-tips as he turned the glass of liquid 
to and fro, to and fro. 

Baley sdd, ‘Then the robot was a witness. Was it questioned?’ 

‘What use? It was disordered. It could only say “You’re going 
to kill me.” I agree with your reconstruction that far. They were 
probably Delraarre’s last words. They had burned so deeply into 
the robot’s consciousness that drey remained when everything 
else was destroyed,’ 

‘But I’m told Solaria specialises in robots. Was there no way in 
which the robot could be repaired? No way in which its circuits 
could be patched?’ 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘None,’ said Gruer sharply. 

‘And where is the robot, now?’ 

‘Scrapped,’ said Gruer. 

Baiey raised his eyebrows. ‘This is a rather peculiar case. No 
motive, no means, no witnesses, no evidence. There was some 
evidence to begin with, but it was destroyed. You have only one 
suspect and everyone seems convinced of her guilt; at least, 
everyone is certain no one else can be guilty. That’s your opinion, 
too, obviously. The question then is : Why was I sent for?’ 

Gruer frowned. ‘You seem upset, Mr Baiey.’ He turned, ab- 
ruptly to Daneel. ‘Mr Olivaw.’ 

‘Yes, Agent Gruer.’ 

‘Won’t you please go through die dwelling and make sure all 
windows are closed and blanked out? Plainclothesman Baiey may 
be feeling the effects of open space.’ 

The statement astonished Baiey. It was his impulse to deny 
Gruer’s assumption and order Daneel to keep his place when, on 
the brink, he caught something of panic in Gruer’s voice, some- 
thing of glittering appeal in his eyes. 

He sat back and let Daneel leave the room. 

It was as though a mask had dropped from Gruer’s face, leav- 
ing it naked and afraid. Gruer saicl, 'That was easier than I had 
thought. I’d planned many ways of getting you alone. I never 
thought the Auroran would leave at a simple request, and yet I 
could think of nothing dse to do.’ 

Baiey said, ‘Well, I’m alone now.’ 

Gruer said, ‘I couldn’t speak fredy in his presence. He’s to 
Auroran and he is here because he was forced on us as the price d 
having you.’ The Solarian leaned forward. ‘Tliere’s something 
more to this than murder. I am not concerned only with the 
matter of who did it. There are parties on Solaria, secret organ- 
isations. . . .’ 

Baiey stared, ‘Surely, I can’t help you there.’ 

‘Of cotnse you can. Now understand this : Dr Delmatre was a 
Traditionalist. He believed in the old ways, the good ways. But 
there are new forces among us, forces for change, and Delmane 
has been silenced.’ 

‘ByMrs Delmarre?’ 

‘Hers must have been the hand. That doesn’t matter. There is 
an organisation bdiind her and that is the important matter.’ 

70 



A THEORY IS REFUTED 

‘Are you sure? Do you have evidence?’ 

‘Vague evidence, only. I can’t help that. Sikaine Delmarre was 
on the track of somethmg. I knew hitri well enough to know him 
as neither fool nor child. He assured me his evidence was good, 
and I believed him. Unfortunately, he told me very little. Natur- 
ally, he wanted to complete his investigation before laying the 
matter completely open to the authorities. He must have got close 
to completion, too, or they wouldn’t have dared the risk of having 
him openly slaughtered by violence. One thing Delmarre told me, 
thou^. The whole human race is in danger.’ 

Baley felt himself shaken. For a moment it was as though he 
were listening to Minnim again, but on an even larger scale. 

‘Why do you think 1 can help?’ he asked. 

‘Because you’re an Earthman,’ said Gruer. ‘Do you under- 
stand? We on Solaria have no experience with these things. In a 
way, we don’t understand people. There are too few of us here.’ 

He looked uneasy, 'I don’t like to say this, Mr Baley. My 
colleagues laugh at me and some grow angry, but it is a definite 
feeling I have. It seems to me that you Barfhmen must under- 
stand people far better than we do, just by living among such 
crowds of them. And a detective more than anyone. Isn’t diat 
so?’ 

Baley half nodded and held his tongue. 

Gruer said, ‘In a way, this murder was fortunate. I have not 
dared speak to the others about Delmarre’s investigation, since I 
wasn’t sure who might be involved in the conspiracy, and Del- 
marre himself was not ready to ^ve any details dll his invesdga- 
don was complete. And even n Dehnarre had completed ms 
work, how would we deal with the matter afterwards? How does 
one deal with hostile human beings? I don’t know. From the 
beginning, I felt we needed an Eardiman. When I heard of your 
work in connecdon with the murder in Spacetown on Earth, I 
Jmew we needed you. I got in touch with Aurora, with whose men 
you had worked most dosely, and through them approached the 
Earth government. Yet my own colleagues could not be per- 
suaded into agreeing to this, Th^ came the murder and that was 
enough of a ^ock to give me the agreement I needed. At that 
moment, diey would have agreed to anything,’ 

Gruer hesitated, then added, ‘It’s not easy to ask an Earthman 
to help, but I must do so. Remember, whatever it is, the human 

71 



THE NAJII.EU SUN 


race is in danger. Earth, too.* 

Earth was double in danger, tiien. There was no mistaking the 
desperate sincerity in Gruer’s voice. But, if the murder wer? so 
fortunate a pretext for allowing Gruer to do what he so des- 
perately wanted to do, was it entirely fortune? It opened new 
avenues of thought that were not reflected in Baley’s face, eyes, ot 
voice. 

Baley said, T have been sent here, sir, to help. I will do so to 
the best of my ability.’ 

Gruer finally lifted his long-delayed drink and looked over the 
rim of the glass at Baley. ‘Good,’ he said. ‘Not a word to the 
Auroran, please. Whatever this is about, Aurora may be involved. 
Certainly they took an unusually intense interest in the case. For 
instance, they insisted on including Mr Olivaw as your partner. 
Aurora is powerful; we had to agree. They say they include Mr 
Olivaw only because he worked with you before, but it may weU 
be that they wish a reliable man of their own on the scene, ch?’ 

He sipped slowly, his eyes on Baley. 

Baley passed the knucldes of one hand against his long cheek, 
rubbing it thoughtfully, ‘Now if that ’ 

He didn’t finish, but leaped from his chair and almost hurled 
himself towards the other, before remembering it was only an 
image he was facing. 

For Gruer, staring wildly at his drink, clutched his throat, 
whispering hoarsely, ‘Burning . . . burning . . .’ 

The glass fell from his hand, its contents spilling. And Gruer 
dropped with it, his face distorted with pain. 




'•i 


72 



CHAPTER SEVEN 


A DOCTOR IS PRODDED 

Daneel stood in the doorway. ‘What happened. Partner Eli ’ 

But no explanation was needed. Daneel’s voice changed to a 
loud ringing shout. ‘Robots of Hannis Gruer! Your master is 
hurt. Robots 1 ’ 

At once a metal figure strode into the dining-room and after it, 
in a minute or two, a dozen more entered. Three carried Gruer 
gently away. The others busily engaged in straightening the dis- 
array and picking up the tableware strewn on the Boor. 

Daneel called out suddenly, ‘You tiiere, robots, never mind the 
crockery! Organise a search! Search the house for any human 
beings ! Alert any robots on the grounds outside I Have them go 
over every acre of the estate I If you find a master, hold him I Do 
not hurt him’ — unnecessary advice — ‘but do not let him leave, 
either 1 If you find no master present, let me know I I will remain 
at this viewer combination.’ 

Then, as robots scattered, Elijah muttered to Daneel, ‘That’s a 
beginning. It was poison, of course.’ 

‘That much is obvious, Parmer Elijah.’ Daneel sat down 
queerly, as though there were a weakness in his knees. Baley had 
never before seen him give way to any action so human as a 
weakness in the knees. 

Daneel said, ‘It is not well with my mechanism to see a human 
being come to harm.’ 

‘'ITiere was nothing you could do,’ 

‘That I understand and yet it is as though there were certain 
cloggings in my thought paths. In human terms what I feel might 
be the equivalent of ^ock.’ 

‘If that’s so, get over it.’ Baley felt neither patience nor sym- 
pathy for a queasy robot. ‘We’ve got to consider the little matter 
of responsibiKty. There is no poison without a poisoner.’ 

‘It might have been food-poisoning.’ 

‘Accidental food-poisoning? On a world thus neatly run? 

73 



THE NAKED SUN 


Never. Besides, the poison was in liquid and the symptoms were 
sudden and complete. It was a poisoned dose and a large one. 
Look, Daneel, I’U go into the neict room to think this out a bit. 
You get Mrs Delmarre. Make sure she’s at home and check the 
distance between her estate and Gruer’s.’ 

‘Is it that you think she ’ 

Baiey held up a hand. ‘Just find out, will you?’ 

He strode out of the room, seeking solitude. Surely there could 
not be two independent attempts at murder so close together in 
time on a world like Solaria. And if a connection existed, then 
Gruer’s story of a conspiracy could be true. 

Baiey felt a familiar excitement growing within him. He had 
come to this world with Earth’s predicament in his mind : the 
murder itself had been a faraway thing, but now the chase was 
really on. 

The muscles in his jaw knotted. The murderer or murderess 
had struck in his presence and he was stung by than Was he hdd 
in so little account? It was professional pride that was hurt and 
Baiey knew it and welcomed the knowledge. At least it gave him 
a firm reason to see the thing through as a murder case, simply, 
and without reference to Eardi’s dangers. 

Daneel bad located him now and was striding towards him. *1 
have done as you asked me to. Partner Elijah ! I have viewed Mrs 
Delmarre. She is at her home, which is somewhat over a thousand 
miles from the estate of Agent Gruer.’ 

Baiey said, ‘I’ll see her myself later. View her, I mean.’ He 
stared thoughtfully at Daneel ‘Do jrou think she has any conneo- ■ 
tion with this crime?’ 

‘Apparendy not a direct connecdon, Partner Elijah.’ 

‘Does that imply there might be an indirect connecdon?’ ' 

‘She might have persuaded someone else to do it.’ 

‘Someone else?’ Baiey asked quickly. ‘Who?’ 

‘That, Partner Elijah, I cannot say.’ 

‘H someone were acting for her, t^t someone would have to be 
at the scene of the crime.’ 

•Yes,’ said Daneel, 'someone must have been there to place the 
poison in the liquid.’ 

‘Isn’t it possible that the poismied liquid might have been 
prepared earlier in the day? Perhaps much earlier?’ 

Daneel said quiedy, ‘1 had thought of that, Partner Elh'ah, 

74 



A DOCTOR IS PRODDED 

which is why I used the word “apparently” when I stated that 
Mrs Delmarre had no direct connection with the crime. It is 
within the realm of possibility for her to have been on the scene 
earlier in the day. It would be well to check her movements.’ 

‘We will do that. We will check whether she was physically 
present at any lime,’ 

Baley’s lips twitched. He had guessed that in some way robotic 
logic must fall short and he was convinced of it now. As the 
roboticist had said : Logical but not reasonable. 

He said, ‘Let’s get back into the viewing room and get Gruer’s 
estate back in view.’ 

The room sparkled with freshness and order. There was no 
sign at all that less than an hour before a man had collapsed in 
agony. 

Three robots stood, backs against the waU, in the usual robotic 
attitude of respectful submission. 

Baley said, ‘What news concerning your master?’ 

The middle robot said, ‘The doctor is attending him, master,’ 

‘Viewing or seeing?’ 

‘Viewing, master.’ 

‘What does the doctor say? Will your master live?’ 

‘It is not yet certain, master.’ 

Baley said, ‘Has the house been searched?’ 

‘Thoroughly, master.’ 

‘Was there any sign of another master beside your own?’ 

‘No, master.’ 

‘Were there any signs of such presence in the near past?’ 

‘Not at all, master,’ 

‘Are the grounds being searched?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

‘Any results so far?’ 

‘No, master,’ 

Baley nodded and said, ‘I wish to speak to the robot that 
served at the table this night.’ 

‘It is being held for inspection, master. Its reactions ate 
erratic.’ 

‘Can it speak?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

‘Then get it here without delay.’ 

75 



THE HARED SUN 


There was delay and Baley began again. *I said ’ 

Daneel interrupted smoothly. ‘There is interradio communica- 
tion among these Solarian types. The robot you desire is being 
summoned. If it is slow in coming, it is part of the disturbance 
that has overtaken it as the result of what has occurred.’ 

Baley nodded. He m^ht have guessed at interradio. In a world 
so thoroughly given over to robots some sort of intimate com- 
munication among them would be necessary if the system were 
not to break down. It explained how a dozen robots could follow 
when one robot had been summoned, but only when needed and 
not otherwise. 

A robot entered. It limped, one leg dragging. Baley wondered 
why and then shrugged his shoulders. Even among the primitive 
robots on Earth reactions to injury of the positronic paths were 
never obvious to the layman. A disrupted circuit might strike a 
leg’s functioning, as here, and the fact would be most significant 
to a roboticist and completely meaningless to anyone else. 

Baley said cautiously, ‘Do you remember a colourless liquid on 
your master’s table, some of which you poured into a goblet for 
him?’ 

The robot said, ‘Yeth, mathter.’ 

A defect in oral articulation, too I 

Baley said, ‘What was the nature of the liquid?* 

‘It wath water, mathter.’ 

‘Just water? Nothing else?’ 

‘Jutht water, mathter.’ 

‘Where did you get it?’ 

‘From the retiiervoir tap, mathter.’ 

‘Had it been standing in the kitchen before you brought it 
in?’ 

‘The mathter preferred it not too cold, mathter. It wath r 
thtanding order that it be poured an hour before mealth.’ 

How convenient, thought Baley, for anyone who knew that 
fact. 

He said, ‘Have one of the robots connect me with the doctoi 
viewing your master as soon as he is available. And while that i: 
being done, I want another one to explain how the reservoir tap 
wor&. I want to know about the water supply here.’ 


The doctor was available with little delay. He was the oldes' 

76 



A UOClOR IS PRODDi^U 

Spacer Baley had ever seen, which meant, Baley thought, that he 
might be over three hundred years old. The veins stood out on his 
hanHs and his close-cropped hair was pure white. He had a habit 
of tapping his ridged front teeth with a fingernail, making a little 
clicking noise that Baley found annoying. His name was Altim 
Thool. 

The doctor said, ‘Fortunately, he threw up a good deal of the 
dose. Still he may not survive. It is a tragic event.’ He sighed 
heavily. 

‘What was the poison, Doctor?’ asked Baley. 

‘I’m afraid I don’t know.’ (Click-click-click.) 

Baley said, ‘What? Then how are you treating him?’ 

‘Direct stimulation of the neuro-muscular system to prevent 
paralysis, but except for that I am letting nature take its course.’ 
His fece, with its faintly yellow skin, like well-worn leather of 
superior quality, wore a pleading expression. *We have very little 
experience with this sort of thing. I don’t recall another case in 
over two centuries of practice.’ 

Baley stated at the other with contempt. ‘You know there are 
such things as poison, don’t you?’ 

‘Oh, yes.’ (Gick-click.) ‘Common knowledge.’ 

‘You have book-film references where you can gain some know- 
ledge.’ 

‘It would take days. There are numerous mineral poisons. We 
make use of insecticides in our society, and it is not impossible to 
obtain bacterial toxins. Even with descriptions in the films it 
would take a long time to gather the equipment and develop the 
techniques to test for them.’ 

‘If no one on Solaria knows,’ said Baley grimly, ‘I’d suggest 
you get in touch with one of the other worlds and £md out. Megn- 
while, you had better test the reservoir tap in Gruer’s mansion for 
poison. Get there in person, if you have to, and do it.’ 

Baley was prodding a venerable Spacer roughly, ordering him 
like a robot and was quite unconscious of the incongruity of it 
Nor did the Spacer make any protest. 

Dr Thool said doubtfully, ‘How could the reservoir tap be 
poisoned? I’m sure it couldn’t be.* 

‘Probably not,’ agreed Baley, ‘but test it anyway to make sure.’ 

The reservoir tap was a dim possibility indeed. The robot’s 
explanation had shown it to be a typical piece of Solatian self- 

77 



THE NAKED SUN 


care. Water tniglit enter it from whatever source and be tailored 
to suit. Micro-organisms were removed and non-living organic 
matter eliminated. The proper amount of aeration was intro- 
duced, as were various ions in just those trace amounts best suited 
to the body’s needs. It was very unlikely that any person could 
survive one or another of the control devices. 

S^, if the safety of the reservoir were directly established, 
riien the time element would be clear. There would be the matter 
of the hour before tike meal, when the pitcher of water (exposed to 
air, thought Baley sourly) was allowed to warm slowly, thanls to 
Gruer’s idiosyncrasy. 

But Dr Thool, frowning, was saying, ‘But how would I test the 
reservoir tap?’ 

‘Jehoshaphat! Take an animal with you! Inject some of the 
water you take out of the tap into its veins, or have it drink some ! 
Do the same for what’s Idft in the pitcher, and if that’s poisoned, 
as it must be, run some of the tests the reference films describe. 
Find some simple ones. Use your head, man ! Do something* 

‘Wait, wait! What pitcher?’ 

‘The pitcher in which the water was standing. The pitcher 
from which die robot poured the poisoned drink.’ 

•Well, dear me — ^I presume it has been cleaned up. The house- 
hold retinue would surely not leave it standing about.’ 

Baley groaned. Of course not. It was impossible to retain 
evidence with eager robots for ever destroying it in the name of 
household duty. He should have ordered it preserved, but of 
course, this society was not his own and he never reached prop- 
erly to it. 

Jehoshaphat! 

Words eventually came ihrou^ that the Gruer estate ms 
clear; no sign of any unauthorised human present an3n!vhete. 

Daneel said, ‘That rather intensifies the puzzle. Partner Tilijnhj 
since it seems to leave no one in the role of poisoner.’ 

Baley, absorbed in thought, scarcely heaid. He said, ‘What? 
. . . Not at all. It clarifies the matter.’ He did not explain, Imow- 
ing quite well that Daneel would be incapable of understanding 
or b^eving what Baley was certain was the truth. 

Nor did Daneel ask for an explanation. Such an invasion of a 
human’s tbou^ts would have been most unrobotic, 

7 © 



A DOCTOR IS PRODDED 


Baky prowled back and forth restlessly, dreading the approach 
of the sl^p period, when his fears of the open woidd rise and his 
longing for Earth increase. He felt an almost feverish desire to 
keep things happening. 

He said to Daneel, ‘I might as well see Mrs Delmarre again. 
Have the robot make contact.’ 

They walked to the viewing room and Baley watched a robot 
work with deft metal fingers. He watched through a haze of 
obscuring thought that vanished in startled astonishment when a 
table, elaborately spread for dinner,.suddenly filled half the room. 

Gkdia’s voice said, ‘Hello.’ A moment later she stepped into 
view and sat down. ‘Don’t look surprised, Elijah. It’s just dinner- 
time. And I’m very carefully dressM. See?’ 

She was. The dominant colour of her dress was a light blue and 
it shimmered down the length of her limbs to wrists and ankles, A 
yellow ruff dung about her neck and shoulders, a little lighter 
than her hair, which was now held in disciplined waves. 

Baley said, *I did not mean to interrupt your meal.’ 

‘I haven’t begun yet. Why don’t you join me?’ 

He eyed her suspiciously. ‘Join you?’ 

She kughed. ‘You Eartlunen are so funny. I don’t mean join 
me in personal presence. How could you do that? I mean, go to 
your own dining-room and then you and the other one can dine 
with me.’ 

‘But if I leave ’ 

‘Your viewing technidan can maintain contact.’ 

Daneel nodded gravely at that, and with some uncertainty 
Baley turned and walked towards the door. Gladia, together with 
her table, its setting, and its ornaments moved widr hm. 

Gladia smiled encouragingly. ‘See? Your viewing technician is 
keeping us in contact.’ 

Baley and Daneel travelled up a moving tamp that Baley did 
not recall having traversed before. Apparently ^ere were num- 
erous possible routes between any two rooms in this impossible 
mansion and he knew only a few of them. Daneel, of course, knew 
them all. 

And, moving through walls, sometimes a bit below floor levd, 
sometimes a bit above, there was always Gladia and her dioner 
table. 

Baley stopped and muttered, ‘This takes getdng used to.’ 

79 



THE NAKED SUN 


Gladia said at once, *Does it make you dizzy?’ 

‘A Httle.’ 

‘Then I tell you what. Why don’t you have your technicians 
freeze me right here. Then when you’re in your dining-room and 
all set, he can join us up.’ 

Daneel said, ‘I will order that done, Partner Elijah.’ 

Their own dinner table was set when they arrived, the plates 
steaming with a dark brown soup in which diced meat was bob- 
bing, and in the centre a large roast fowl was ready for the carv- 
ing. Daneel spoke briefly to the serving robot and, with smooth 
efflciency, the two places that had been set were drawn to the 
same end of the' table. 

As though that were a signal, the opposite wall seemed to move 
outward, the table seemed to lengthen and Gladia was seated at 
the opposite end. Room joined to room and table to table so 
neatly that but for the varying patterns in wall and floor covering 
and Ae differing designs in tableware it would have been easy to 
believe they were all dining together in aaual fact. 

‘There,’ said Gladia wiA satisfaction. ‘Isn’t this comfortable?’ 

*Quite,’ said Baley. He tasted his soup gingerly, found it 
delicious, and helped himself more generously. ‘You Imow about 
Agent Gruer?’ 

-Trouble shadowed her face at once and she put her spoon 
down. Tsn’t it terrible? Poor Hannis.’ 

‘You use his first name. Do you know him?’ 

*1 know almost all the important people on Solaria. Most 
Solarians do know one another. NaturaUy.’ 

Naturally, indeed, thought Baley. How many of them were 
there, after all? 

Baley said, ‘Then perhaps you know Dr Altim Thool. He’s 
taking care of Gruer.’ 

Gladia laughed pntly. Her serving robot sliced meat for her 
and added small, browned potatoes and slivers of carrots. ‘Of 
course I know him. He treat^ me.* 

Treated you when?’ 

•Right after the — ^the trouble. About my husband, I mean.’ 

Baley said in astonishment, Ts he me only doctor on the 
jdanet?’ 

*Oh, no.’ For a moment her lips moved as though she were 

80 



A DOCTOR 1$ PRODDED 

counting to herself. ‘There are at least ten. And there’s one 
youngster I know of who’s studying medicine. But Dr Thool is 
one of ie best. He has the most experience. Poor Dr Thool.’ 

‘Why poor?* 

‘WeUj you know what I mean. It’s such a nasty job, being a 
doctor. Sometimes you just have to see people when you’re a 
doctor and even tou^ them. But Dr Thool seems so resigned to it 
and he’ll always do some seeing when he feels he must. He’s 
treated me since I was a child and was always so friendly and 
kind that I honestly feel I almost wouldn’t mind if he did Imve to 
see me. For instance, he saw me this last time.’ 

‘After your husband’s death, you mean?’ 

‘Yes. You can imagine how he felt when he saw my husband’s 
dead body and me lying there.’ 

‘I was told he viewed the body,’ said Baley. 

‘The body, yes. But after he made sure I was alive and in no 
real danger, he ordered the robots to put a pillow under my head 
and give me an injection of something or o&er, and then goPout. 
He came over by jet. Really 1 By jet. It took less than hsJf an 
hour and he took care of me and made sure all was well. I was so 
dizzy when I came to that I was sure I was only viewing him you 
know, and it wasn’t till he touched me that I knew we were 
seeing, and I screamed. Poor Dr Thool. He was awfully embatT 
rassed, but I knew he meant well.’ . ' 

Baley nodded. ‘I suppose there’s not much use for doctors on 
Solaria?’ 

‘I should hope no/.’ 

‘I know there are no germ diseases to speak of. What about 
metabolic disorders? Adierosclerosis? Diabetes? Things 1^ 
that?’ 

‘It happens and it’s pretty awful when it does. Doctors can 
make life more livable for such people in a physical way, but 
that’s the least of it.’ 

‘Oh?’ 

‘Of course. It means the gene analysis was imperfect. You 
don’t suppose we allow defects like diabetes to develop on pur- 
pose, Anyone who develops such things has to undergo very de- 
tailed re-analysis. The mate assignment has to be retracted, 

) which is terribly embarrassing for the mate. And it means no — ^no’ 
-^-^her voice sank to a whisper — ^‘children,’ 

81 



THE NAKED SON 


Baley said in a normal voice, *No children?’ 

Gladia flushed. ‘It’s a terrible thing to say. Sudi a word — ch- 
children ! ’ 

‘It comes easy after a while,’ said Baley dryly. 

‘Yes, but if I get into the habit. I’ll say it in front of another 
Solarian some-day and then I’ll just sii± into the ground... . 
Anyway, if the two of them have had children (see, I’ve said it 
again) aheady, the children have to be foimd and examined — ^that 
was one of Rikaine’s jobs, by the way — and well, it’s just a mess.’ 

So much for Thool, thought Baley. The doctor’s incompetence 
was a natural consequence of the society, and held nothing sin- 
ister. Nothing necessarily sinister. Cross him off, he thought, but 
lightly. 

He watched Gladia as she ate. She was neat and precisely 
delicate in her movements and her appetite seemed normal His 
own fowl was delightful. In one respect, anyway — ^food — ^he 
could easily be-spoiled by these Outer Worlds. 

He said, ‘What is your opinion of the poisoning, Gladia?’ 

She looked up. ‘I’m trying not to think of it. There are so 
many horrors lately. Maybe it wasn’t poisoning.’ 

“It was.’ 

‘But there wasn’t anyone around?’ 

‘How do you know?’ 

‘Therq couldn’t have been. He has no wife, these days, since 
he’s all tlmjugh with his quota of ch — ^you know what. So there 
was no one to put poison in anything, so how could he be 
poisoned?’ 

‘But he was poisoned. That’s a fact and must be accepted,’ 

Her eyes clouded over. ‘Do you suppose,’ she said, ‘he did it 
himself?’ 

‘I doubt it. Why should he? And so publicly?’ 

‘Then it couldn’t be done, Elijah. It jtist couldn’t.’ 

Baley said, ‘On the contrary, Gladia. It could be done very 
easily. And I’m sure I know exactly how.’ 



CHAPTER EIGHT 


A SPACER IS DEFIED 


I 


GiABlA seemed to be holding her breath for a moment. It came 
out through puckered lips in what was almost a whistle. She said, 
Tm sure / don’t see how. Do you know-roho did it?’ 

Baley nodded. ‘The same one who killed your husband.’ 

‘Are you sure?’ 

‘Aren’t you? Your husband’s murder was the first in the history 
of Solaria. A month kter there is another murder. Could that be a 
coincidence? Two separate murderers striking within a month of 
each other on a crime-free world? Consider, too, that the second 
victim was investigming the first crime and ther^ore represented 
a violent danger to the original murderer.’ 

‘Weill’ Gkdia applied herself to her dessert and said between 
mouthfuls, ‘If you put it that way, I’m innocent.’ 

‘How so, Gladia?’ 

‘Why, Elijah. I’ve never been near the Gruer estate, never in 
my whole hfe. So I certainly couldn’t have poisoned Agent 
Gruer. And if I haven’t — ^why, neither did I kill my husband.’ 

Then, as Baley maintained a stem silence, her spirit seemed to 
fade and the comers of her small mouth droops. ‘Don’t you 
think so, Elijah?’ 

‘I can’t be sure,’ said Baley. ‘I’ve told you I know the method 
used to poison Gmer. It’s an ingenious one and anyone on Solaria 
could have used it, whether they were on the Gmer estate or not; 
whether they were ever on the Gruer estate or not.’ 

Gladia clenched her hands into fists. ‘Are you saying 1 did 
it?’ 

•I’m not saying that.’ 

‘You’re implying it’ Her lips were thin with fury and her high 
cheekbones were splotchy. ‘Is that all your interest in viewing 
me? To ask me sly questions? To trap me?’ 

‘Now wait ’ 

‘You seemed so sympathetic. So understanding. You — ^you 


83 



THE NAKED SUN 


Earthman 1 ’ 

Her contralto had become a tortured rasp with the last word. 

Daneel’s perfect face leaned towards Gladia and he said, '!{ 
you will pardon me, Mrs Delmarre, you are holding a knife 
tightly and may cut yourself. Please be careful.’ 

Gladia stared wildly at the short, blunt, and undoubtedly quite 
harmless knife she held in her hand. With a spasmodic movement 
she raised it high. 

Baley said, ‘You couldn’t reach me, Gladia.’ V 

She gasped. ‘Who’d want to reach you? Ugh!’ She shuddered 
in exaggerated disgust and called out^ ‘Break contact at oncel’ 

The test must have been to a robot out of the line of sight, and 
Gladia and her end of the room were gone and the original wall 
sprang back. 

Daneel said, ‘Am I correct in believing you now consider this 
woman guilty?’ 

‘No,’ said Baley flatly. ‘Whoever did this needed a great deal 
more of certain charaaeristics than this poor girl has.’ 

‘She has a temper.’ 

‘What of that? Most people have. Remember, too, that she has 
been under a considerable strain for a considerable time. If I had 
been under a similar strain and someone had turned on me as she 
imagined I had turned on her, I might have done a great deal 
more than wave a foolish little knife,’ 

Daneel said, ‘I have not been able to deduce the tedmique of 
poisoning at a distance, as you say you have.’ 

Baley found it pleasant to be able to say, ‘I know you haven’t. 
You lack the capacity to dedpher this particular puzzle.’ 

He said it with finality and Daneel accepted ihe statement as 
calmly and as gravely as ever. 

Baky said, ‘I have two jobs for you, Daneel.’ 

‘And what are they, Parmer Elijah?’ 

‘First, get in toudi with this Dr Thool and find out Mrs 
Delmarre’s condition at the time of the murder of her husband. 
How long she requited treatment and §o on.* 

‘Do you want to determine something in pardcular?’ 

‘No. I’m just trying to accumulate data. It isn’t easy oir this 
world. Secondly, find out who will be taking Gruer’s place as 
h»ad of security and arrange a vievring session for me first thing 

8 ^ 



A SPACER IS DEFIED 

in the morning. As for me,’ he said without pleasure in his mind, 
and with none in his voice, Tm going to bed and eventually, I 
hope, to sleep.’ Then, almost petulantly, ‘Do you suppose I could 
get a decent book-film in this place?’ 

Daneel said, ‘I would suggest that you summon the robot in 
charge of the library.’ 

Baley felt only irritadon at having to deal with the robot. He 
would much rather have browsed at will. 

‘No,’ he said, ‘not a classic; just an ordinary piece of fiction 
dealing with everyday life on contemporary Soluia. About half a 
dozen of them.’ 

The robot submitted (it would have to) but even as it manipu- 
lated the proper controls that plucked the requisite book-films out 
of their niches and transferred them first to an exit slot and then 
to Baley’s hand, it ratded on in respectful tones about all the 
other categories in the library. 

The master might like an adventure romance of the days of 
exploration, it suggested, or an excellent view of chemistry, per- 
haps, with animated atom models, or a fantasy, or a Galactc- 
graphy. The list was endless. 

^ey waited grimly for his half dozen, said, ‘These will do,’ 
reached with his own hands (his own hands) for a scanner and 
walked away. 

When the robot followed and said, ‘Will you require help with 
the adjustment, master?’ Baley turned and snapped, ‘No. Stay 
where you arel’ 

The robot bowed and stayed. 

Lying in bed, with the headboard aglow, Baley almost regret- 
ted his decision. The scanner was like no model he had ever used 
and he began with no idea at all as to die method for threading 
the film. But he worked at it obstinately, and, eventually, by 
taking it apart and working it out bit by bit, he managed some- 
thing. 

At least he could view the film and, if &e focus left a bit to be 
desired, it was small payment for a moment’s independence from 
the robots. 

In the next hour and a half he had skipped and switched 
through four of the six films and was disappointed. 

He had had a theory. There was no better way, he had thought, 

85 



THE NAKED SDN 


to get an insight into Solarian 'wa3rs of Itfe and thought than to 
read their novels. He needed that insight if he were to conduct the 
investigation sensibly. 

But now he had to abandon his theories. He had viewed novels 
and had succeeded only in learning of people with ridiculous 
problems who behaved foolishly and reacted mysteriously. Why 
should a woman abandon her job on discovering her child had 
entered the same profession and refuse to explain her reasons 
until unbearable and ridiculous complications had resulted? ''j^y 
should a doctor and an ardst be humiliated at being assigned to 
one another and what was so noble about the doctor’s insistence 
on entering robotic research? 

He threaded the fifth novel into the scanner and adjusted it to 
his eyes. He was bone-weary. 

So weary, in fact, that he never afterwards recalled anything of 
the fifth novel (which he believed to be a suspense story) except 
for the opening in which a new estate owner entered his mansion 
and looked through the past account fihns presented him by a 
respectful robot. 

Presumably he fell asleep then with the scanner on his head 
and all lights blazing. Presumably a robot entering respectfully, 
had gently removed the scanner and put out the lights. 

In any case, he slept and dreamed of Jessie. AU was as it had 
been. He had never left Earth. They were ready to travel to the 
community kitchen and then to see a subetheric show with 
friends. They would travel over the Expressways and see people 
and neither of them had a care in the world. He was happy. 

And Jessie was beautiful. She had lost weight somehow. Why 
should ^e be so slim? And so beautiful? 

And one other thing was wrong. Somehow the sun shone down 
on them. He looked up and there was only the vaulted base of the 
upper Levels visible, yet the sun shone down, blazing brigiitly on 
everything, and no one was afraid. 

Baley woke up, disturbed. He let the robots serve breakfast and 
did not speak to Daneel. He said nothing, asked nothing, downed 
^cellent coffee without tasting it. 

Why had he dreamed of the visible-invisible sun? He could 
understand dreaming of Earth and of Jessie, but what bad the sun 
to do with it? And why should the thought of it bother him, 

86 



A SPACES IS DEFIED 


anyway? 

‘Partner Elijah,’ said Daneel gently. 

‘What?’ 

‘Corwin Attlebish will be in viewing contact with you in half 
an hour. I have arranged that.’ 

‘^o the hell is Corwin WhatchamacuUum?’ asked Baley 
sharply, and refilled his coffee cup. 

‘He was Agent Gruer’s chief aide. Partner Elijah, and is now 
Acting Head of Security.’ 

‘Then get him now ! ’ 

‘The appointment, as I explained, is for half an hour from 
now.’ 

‘I don’t care when it’s for. Get him now! That’s an order.’ 

‘I will make the attempt, Parmer Elijah. He may not, however, 
agree to receive the call.’ 

‘Let’s take the chance, and get on with it, Daneel ! ’ 

The Acting Head of Security accepted the call and, for the first 
time on Solaria, Baley saw a Spacer who looked like tihe usual 
Earthly conception of one. Attlebish was tall, lean, and bronze. 
His eyes were a light brown, his chin large and hard. 

He looked faintly like Daneel But whereas Daneel was ideal- 
ised, dlmost god-like, Corwin Attlebish had lines of humanity in 
his face. 

Atdebish was shaving. The small abrasive pencil gave out its 
spray of fine particles that swept over cheek and chin, biting off 
&e hair neatly and then disintegrating into impalpable dust. 

Baley recognised the instrument through hearsay but had never . 
seen one used before. 

‘You the Earthman?’ asked Attlebish slurring through barely 
open lips, as the abrasive dust passed under his nose. 

Baley said, ‘I’m Elijah Baley, Plainclothesman 07, I’m from 
Earth.’ 

‘You’re early.’ Attlebish snapped his shaver shut and tossed it 
somewhere outside Baley’s range of vision. ‘What’s on your mind, 
Earthman?’ 

Baley would not have enjoyed die other’s tone of voice at die 
best of times. He burned now. He said, ‘How is Agent Gruet?’ 

Atdebish said, ‘He’s still alive. He may stay aKve.’ 

Baley nodded. ‘Your poisoners here on Solaria don’t know 

87 



THE NAKED SDN 


dosages. Lack of experience. They gave Gruer too much and he 
threw it up. Half the dose wouM have killed him.’ 

‘Poisoners? There is no evidence for poison.’ 

Baley stared. ‘Jehoshaphatl What else do you think it is?’ 

‘A number of things. Much can go wrong with a person.’ He 
rubbed his face, loolo^ for roughness widi his fingertips. 'You 
would scarcely know the metabolic problems that arise past the 
age of two fifty.’ 

‘If that’s the case, have you obtained competent medical ad' 
vice?’ 

*Dr Thool’s report ’ 

That did it. The anger that had been boiliojp inside Baley since 
waking burst through. He cried at the top of his voice, ‘I don’t 
care about Dr Thool. I said competent medical advice. Your 
doctors don’t know anything, any more than your detectives 
would, if you had any. You had to get a detective from Earth. 
Get a doctor as well ! ’ 

The .Solarian looked at him cooEy. ‘Are you telling me what to 
do?‘ 

TTes, and without charge. Gmer was poisoned. I witnessed tiie 
process. He drank, retched, and yeUed that his throat was burn- 
ing. What do you call it when you consider that he was investiga- 
ting ’ Baley came to a sudden halt. 

'Investigating what?’ Atdebfah was unmoved. 

Baley was uncomfortably aware of Daneel at his usual position 
some ten feet away. Gruer had not wanted Daneel, as an Auror^ 
to know of die investigation. He said lamely, ‘There were politi- 
cal hxgilications.’ 

Attlebish crossed his arms and looked distant, bomd, and 
faintly hostile. “We have no politics- on Solaria in your sense of 
the word, Hannis Gruer was a good citizen, but too imaginative. 
It was he who, having heard some story about you, urged that we 
import you. He even agreed to accept an Auroran companion for 
you as a condition. I did not think it necessary. There is no 
mystery. Bikaine Dehnarre was killed by his wife and we shall 
find out how and vriiy. Even if we do not, she wifi be genetically 
analysed and the proper measures taken. As for Gruer, your fan- 
tasy concerning poisoning is of no importance.’ 

Baley said incteduloiffily, Tou seem to imply that I’m not 
needed here.’ 



A SPACER IS DEFIED 

‘I believe not. If you wish to teturn to Earth, you may do so. I 
may even say we urge you to.’ 

Baley was amazed at his own reaction. He cried, ‘No, sir, I 
don’t budge.’ 

‘We hired you, Plainclothestnan. We can discharge you. You 
will return to your home planet.’ 

‘No! You listen to me. I’d advise you to. You’re a big-time 
Spacer and I’m an Earthman, but with all respect, with deepest 
a^ most humble apologies, you’re scared.’ 

‘Withdraw that statement 1’ Attlebish drew himself to his six- 
foot-plus, and stared down at the Earthman haughtily. 

‘You’re scared as hell. You think you’ll be next if you pursue 
this thing. You’re giving in so that Aey’U let you alone; so that 
they’ll leave you your miserable life.’ Baley had no notion who 
the ‘they’ might be or if there were any ‘they- at all. He was 
striking out blindly at an arrogant Spacer and enioying the thud 
his phrases made as they hit against the other’s self-controL 

‘You will leave,’ said Attlebish, pointing his finger in cold 
anger, ‘within the hour. There’ll be no diplomatic considerations 
about this, I assure you.’ 

‘Save your threats, Spacer. Earth is nothing to you, I admit; 
but I’m not the only one here. May I introduce my parmer, 
Daneel Olivaw.' He’s from Aurora. He doesn’t talk much. He’s 
not here to talk. 1 handle that department. But he listens awfully 
well. He doesn’t miss a word. 

‘Let me put it straight, Attlebish’ — Baley used the unadorned 
name with rehsh — ‘whatever monkeyshines are going on here on 
Solaria, Aurora and forty-odd other Outer Worlds are interested. 
If you Idck us off, the next deputadon to visit Solaria will consist 
of warshins. I’m from Earth and I know how the system works. 
Hurt feelings mean warships by return trip.’ 

Atdebish transferred his regard to Daneel and seemed to be 
considering. His voice was gentler. ‘There is nothing going on 
here that need concern anyone outside the planet.’ 

‘Gruer drought otherwise and my partner heard him.’ This was 
no time to cavil at a lie. 

Daneel turned to look at Baley, at the Earthman’s last state- 
ment, but Baley paid no attendon. He drove on: ‘I intend to 
pursue this investigation. Ordinarily, there’s nothing I wouldn’t 
do to get back to Earth. ^ I owned this robot-infest^ palace Pm 

89 



THE NAKED SUN 


living in now, I’d give it with the robots thrown in for a ticket 
home. 

‘But I won’t be ordered off by you. Not while there’s a case to 
which I’ve been assigned that’s still open. Try getting rid of me 
against my will and you’ll be looking down the throats of space- 
bound artillery 1 What’s more, from now on, this murder investi- 
gation is going to be run my way. I’m in charge. I see the people 
I want to see. I see them. I don’t view them. I'm used to seeing 
and that’s the way it’s going to be. I’ll want the official approval 
of your office for all of tibat.’ 

‘This is impossible, imbearable ’ 

‘Daneel, you teU him.’ 

The humanoid’s voice said dispassionately, ‘As my partner has 
informed you. Agent Attlebish, we have been sent here to conduct 
a murder investigation. It is essential that we do so. We, of 
course, do not wish to disturb any of your customs and perhaps 
actual seeing will be unnecessary, although it would be helpful if 
you were to give approval for such seeing as becomes necessary as 
Flainclothesman B^y has requested. As to leaving the planet 
against our will, we feel that would be inadvisable, although we 
regret any feeling on your part or on the part of any Solarian that 
our remaining would be unpleasant.’ 

Baley listened to the stuted sentence structure with a ^our 
stretching of his lips that was not a smile. To one who knew 
Daneel as a robot, it was all an attempt to do a job without giving 
offence to any human, not to Baley and not to Attlebish. To one 
who thought Daneel was an Auroran, a native of the oldest and 
most powerful militarily of the Outer Worlds, it sounded a 
series of subtly courteous threats. 

Attlebish put the tips of bis fingers to his for^ead. ‘I’ll think 
about it.’ 

*Not too long,’ said Baley, ‘because I have some visiting to do 
within the hour, and not by viewer. Done viewing 1 ’ 

He signalled the robot to break contact, then he stared with 
surprise and pleasure at the place where Attlebish had been. None 
of this had been planned. It had all been impulse bom of his 
dream and of Attlebish’s unnecessary arrogance. But now that it 
had happened, he was glad. It was ii^t he had wanted, really — 
to take control. 

He thou^t ; Anyway, that was telling the ditty Spacer 1 

90 



A SPACER IS DEFIED 

He wished tie entire population of Earth could have been here 
to watch. The roan looked such a Spacer, and that made it all the 
better, of course. All the better,' 

Only, why this feeling of vehemence in the matter of seeing? 
Baley scarcely understo^ that. He knew what he planned to do, 
and seeing (not viewing) was part of it. All right. Yet there had 
been the tight lift to his spirit when he spoke of seeing, as though 
he were ready to break down the walk of this mansion even 
though it served no purpose. 

Why? 

There was something impelling him beside the case, something 
that had nothing to do even with the question of Earth’s safety. 
But what? 

Oddly, he remembered his dream again; the sun s hinin g down 
through all the opaque layers of the gigantic underground Cities 
of Earth. 

Daneel said thoughtfully as far as his voice could cany a recog~ 
nisable emotion, T wonder, Partner Elijah, if this is entirely 
safe?’ 

‘BluflBng? It worked. And it wasn’t really bluff. I think it is 
important to Aurora to find out what’s going on on Solaria, and 
that Aurora knows it. Thank you, by the way, for not catching me 
out in a misstatement.’ 

‘It was the natural dedsion. To have borne you out did Agent 
Atdebish a certain rather subtle harm. To have given you the lie 
would have done you a greater and more direct harm.’ 

‘Potentials countered and the higher one won out, eh, Daneel?’ 

‘So it was. Partner Elijah, I understand that this process, in a 
less definable way, goes on within the human mind. I repeat, 
however, that this new proposal of yours is not safe.’ 

‘Which new proposal is tins?’ 

‘I do not approve your notion of seeing people. By that I mean 
seeing as opposed to viewing.’ 

‘I understand you. I’m not asking for your approval.’ 

‘I have niy instructions. Partner Elijah. What it was that Agent 
Hannis Gruer told you during my absence last night I cannot 
know. That he did say sometl^g is obvious from the change in 
your attitude towards this problem. However, in the light of my 
instructions, Z can guess. He ipust have warned you of the pos- 

91 



THE NAKED SUN 


sibility of danger to other planets arising from the situation on 
Solaria.’ 

Slowly Baley reached for his pipe. He did that occasionally 
and always there was the feeling of irritation when he found noth- 
ing and remembered he could not smoke. He said, ‘There are only 
twenty thousand Solarians? What danger can they repiesent?’ 

‘My masters on Aurora have for some time been uneasy about 
Solaria. I have not been told all the information at their dis- 
posal ’ 

‘And what Ultle you have been told you have been told not to 
repeat to me. Is that it?’ demanded Baley. 

Daneel said, ‘There is a great deal to find out before this 
matter can be discussed freely.’ 

‘Well, what are the Solarians doing? New weapons? Paid sub- 
version? A campaign of individual assassinations? What can 
twenty thousand people do against himdreds of millions of 
Spacers?’ 

Daneel remained silent. 

Baley said, *1 intend to find out, you know.’ 

‘But not by the way you propose. Partner Elijah. I have been 



‘Over and above that. In conflict between your safety and that 
of another I must guard yours.’ 

‘Of course. I understand that. If anything happens to me, there 
is no further way in which you can remain on Solaria without 
compheations that Aurora is not yet ready to face. As long as I’m 
alive, I’m here at Solaria’s original request and so we can throw 
otu weight aroundjv if necessary, and make them keep us. If I’m 
dead, the whole situation is changed. Your orders are, then, to 
keep Baley alive. Am I right, Daneel?’ , 

Daneel said, *I cannot presume to interpret the reasoning 
behind my orders.* 

Baley said, ‘All tight, don’t worry. The open space won’t kill 
me, if I do find it necessary to see anyone. I’ll survive. I may even 
get used to it.’ 

‘It is not the matter of open space alone, Parmer Elijah,’ said 
Daneel. ‘It is this matter of seeing Solarians. I do not approve of 
it.’ 

‘You mean the Spacers won’t like it. Too bad if they don’t. Let 

92 



A SPACES IS DEFIED 

tfaem wear nose filters and gloves. Let them spray the air. And if 
it offends their nice morals to see me in the fiesh, let them wince 
and blush. But I intend to see them. I consider it necessary to do 
so and 1 mil do so.’ 

‘But I cannot allow you to.’ 

‘You can’t allow meV 

‘Surely you see why. Partner Elijah?’ 

‘I do not.’ 

‘Agent Gruer, the key Solarian figure in the investigation of 
this murder, has been poisoned. Does it not follow that if I permit 
you to proceed in your plan for exposing yourself indiscriminately 
in actual person, die next victim will necessarily be you yourself. 
How then can I possibly permit you to leave the safety of this 
mansion?’ 

‘How will you stop me, Daneel?* 

‘By force, if necessary,’ said Daneel calmly. ‘Even if I must 
hurt you. If I do not do so, you will sturdy die.’ 


93 



CHAPTER NINE 


A ROBOT IS STYMIED 

Baley said, ‘So the higher potential wins out again, Daneel, You 
hurt me to keep me alive.’ 

‘I do not believe hurting you will be necessary. You know that 
I am superior to you in strength and you wUl not attempt a 
useless resistance, K it should become necessary, however, I shall 
be compelled to hurt you.’ 

‘I could blast you down where you stand,’ said Baley. ‘There is 
nothing in my potentials to prevent me.’ 

‘I had thought you might talte this attitude at some time in our 
present relationship, Parmer Elijah. Most particularly, the 
thought occurred to me during our trip to this mansion, when you 
grew momentarily violent in the ground-car. The destruction of 
myself is unimportant in comparison with your safety, but such 
destruction would cause you distress eventually and disturb the 
plans of my masters. It was one of my first cares, therefore, dur- 
ing your &8t sleeping period, to deprive your blaster of its 
charge,’ 

Bmey’s lips tightened. He was left without a charged blaster I 
His hand dropped instantly to his holster. He drew his weapon 
and stared at the charge reading. It hugged zero. 

For a moment he b^anced the lump of useless metal as though 
to hurl it directly into Daneel’s face. What good? The robot 
would dodge efladently. 

Baley put the blaster back. It could be recharged in good time. 

Slowly, thoughtfully, he said, ‘I’m not fooled by you, Daneel.’ 

‘In what way. Partner Elijah?’ 

Ton are too much the master. I am too completely stopped by 
you. Are you a robot?’ 

•You have doubted me before,’ said Daneel. 

‘On Earth last year, I doubted whether R. Daneel Olivaw was 
truly a robot. It turned out he was. I believe he still is. My 
question, however is this ; Are you R. Daneel Olivaw?’ 

94 



A ROBOT IS STYMIED 


‘lam.’ 

‘Yes? Daneel was designed to imitate a Spacer closely. Why 
could not a Spacer be made up to imitate Daneel closely?’ 

‘For what reason?’ 

‘To carry on an investigation here with greater initiative and 
capacity than ever a robot could. And yet by assuming Daneel’s 
role, you could keep me safely under control by giving me a false 
consciousness of mastery. After all, you are working throu^ me 
and I must be kept pliable.’ 

‘All this is not so, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘Then why do all the Solarians we meet assume you to be 
human? They are robotic experts. Are they so easily fooled? It 
occurs to me that I cannot be one tight against many wrong. It is 
far more likely that I am one wrong against many right.’ 

‘Not at all, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘Prove it,’ said Baley, moving slowly towards an end table and 
lifting a scrap-disposal unit, ‘You can do that easily enou^, if 
you are a robot. Show the metal beneath your* skin.’ 

Daneel said, ‘I assure you ' 

‘Show die metal,’ said Baley crisply. ‘That is an order. Or 
don’t you feel compelled to obey orders?’ 

Daneel unbuttoned his shirt The smooth, bronze skin of his 
chest was sparsely covered with Ught hair. Daneel’s fingers ex- 
erted a firm pressure just under the right nipple, and fiesh and 
skin split bloodlessly the length of the chest, wMi the gleam of 
metal showing beneath. 

And as that happened, Baley’s fingers, resting on the end table, 
moved half an inch to the ri^t and stabbed at a contact patch. 
Almost at once a robot enter^. 

‘Don’t move, Daneel,’ cri«i Baley. That’s an order] Freeze 1’ 

Daneel stood motionless, as though life, or the robotic imitar 
tion thereof, had departed from him.' 

Baley shouted to the robot. ‘Can you get two more of die staff 
in here without yourself leaving? if so, do it.’ 

The robot said, ‘Yes, master.’ 

Two more robots entered, answering a radioed call. The diree 
lined up abreast. 

‘Bo 3 re!’ said Baley. ‘Do you see this creamre whom you 
thought a master?’ 

Six ruddy eyes had turned solemnly on Daneel They said in 

95 



THE NAKED SUN 


unison, ‘We see him, master.’ 

Baley said, ‘Do you also see liat this so-called master is actu. 
ally a robot like yourself since it is metal within. It is o% 
designed to look like a man.’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

‘You are not required to obey any orders it gives you. Do you 
understand that?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

‘I, on the other hand,’ said Baley, ‘am a true man.’ 

For a moment the robots hesitated. Baley wondered if, having 
had it shown to them that a thing might seem a man yet be a 
robot, they would accept anything in human appearance as a man, 
anything at all. 

But £en one robot said, ‘You are a man, master,’ and Baley 
drew breath again. 

He said, ‘Very well, Daneel. You may relax.’ 

Daneel moved into a more natural position and said calmly, 
‘Your expressed doubt as to ray identity, then, was merely a feint 
designed to exhibit my nature to these others, I take it.’ 

‘So it was,’ said Baley, and looked away. He thought; The 
thing is a machine, not a man. You can’t double-cross a machine. 

And yet he couldn’t entirely repress a feeling of shame. Even as 
Daneel stood there, chest open, there seemed something so human 
about hW, something capable of being betrayed. 

Baley said, ‘Close your chest, Daneel, and listen to me. Physi- 
cally, you are no match for three robots. You see that, don’t you?’ 

‘TThat is clear, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘Good ! . . . Now you boys,’ and he turned to the other robots 
again. ‘You are to tell no one, human or master, that this creature 
is a robot. Never at any time, without further instructions from 
myself and myself alone.’ 

*I thank you,’ interposed Daneel softly. 

‘However,’ Baley went on, ‘this man-like robot is not to be 
allowed to interfere with my actions in any way. If it attempts 
any such interference, you will restrain it by force, taking care not 
to damage it unless absolutely necessary. Do not allow it to 
establish contact with humans other dban myself, or with robots 
other than yourselves, eithw by seeing or by viewing. And do not 
leave it at any time. Keep it in this room and remain here your- 
selves. Your other duties are suspended until funder notice. Is all 

96 



A ROBOT IS STYMIED 


this dear?’ 

‘Yesj master,’ they chorused. 

Baley turned to Daneel again. ‘There is nothing you can do 
now, so don’t try to stop me.’ 

Daneel’s arms hung loosely at his side. He said, ‘I may not, 
through inaction, allow you to come to harm. Partner Elijah. Yet 
in the circumstances, nothing but inaction is possible. The logic is 
ntigssailah le. I shall do nothing. I trust you will remain safe and 
in good health.’ 

There it was, thought Baley. Logic was logic and robots had 
nothing else. Ingic told Daneel he was completely stymied. 
Reason might have told him that all factors are rarely predictable, 
that ^e opposition might make a mistake. 

None of that. A robot is logical, only, not reasonable. 

Again Baley felt a twinge of shame and could not forbear an 
attempt at consolation. He said, ‘Look, Daneel, even if I were 
walidag into danger, which Fm noV ^e added that hurriedly, 
with a quick glance at the other robots) ‘it would only be my job. 
It is what I’m paid to do. It is as much my job to prevent harm to 
man-kind as a whole as yours is to prevent harm to a man as an 
individual. Do you see?’ 

‘I do not, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘Then that is because you’re not made to see. Take my word 
for it that if you were a man, you would see.’ 

Daneel bowed his head in acquiescence and remained standing, 
motionless, while Baley walked slowly towards the door the 
room. The three robots parted to make room for him and kept 
their photo-electric eyes fixed firmly on Daneel. 

Baley was walking to a kind of freedom and his heart beat 
rapidly in anticipation of the fact, then skipped a beat. Another 
robot was approaching the door from the other side. 

Had somediing gone wrong? 

‘What is it, boy?’ he snappoi. 

‘A message has been forwarded to you, master, from the t^ce 
of Acting Head of Security Attlebish.’ 

Baley took the personal capsule handed to him and it opened at 
once. A finely inscribed strip of paper unrolled. He wasn’t 
statded. Solaria would have his fingerprints on file and the 
capsule would be adjusted to open at the touch d his particular 
convolutions. 


97 



THE NAKED SUN 


He read the inessage and his long face mirrored satisfaction. It 
was his official permission to arrange ‘seeing’ interviews, subject 
to the wishes of tlie interviewees, who were nevertheless urged to 
give ‘Agents Baley and Olivaw’ every possible co-operation. 

Attlebish had capitulated, even to the extent of putting the 
Earthman’s name first. It was an excellent omen wiffi which to 
begin, finally, an investigation conducted as it should be con- 
ducted. 

♦ ♦ * ‘ 

Baley was in an air-bome vessel again, as he had been on that 
trip from New York to Washington. This time, however, there 
was a difference. The vessel was not closed in. The windows were 
left transparent. 

It was a clear, bright day and from where Baley sat the 
windows were so many patches of blue. Unrelieved, featureless. 
He tried not to huddle. He buried his head in his knees only when 
he could absolutely no longer help it. 

The ordeal was of his own choosing. His state of triumph, his 
unusual sense of freedom at having beaten down first Attlebish 
and then Daneel, his feeling of having asserted the dignity of 
Earth against the Spacers, almost demanded it. 

He had begun by stepping across open ground to the waiting 
plane with a kind of lightheaded dizziness ffiat was almost enjoy- 
able, and he had ordered the windows left unblanked in a kind of 
manic self-confidence. 

I have to get used to it, he thought, and stared at the blue until 
his heart beat rapidly and the lump in his throat swelled be3^ond 
endurance. 

He had to close his eyes and bury his head under the protective 
cover of his arms at shortening intervals. Slowly his confidence 
trickled away and even the touch of the holster of his freshly 
recharged blaster could not reverse the fiow. 

He tried to keep his mind on his plan of attack. First, learn 
the ways of the plwet. Sketch in the background against which 
everyt^g must be placed or fail to make sense. 

Next — see a sociologist I 

He had asked a robot for the name of the Solarian most 
eminent as a sociologist. And there was that comfort about 
robots; they asked no questions. The robot gave the name and 

98 



A ROBOT IS STYMIED 

vital statistics, and paused to remark that the sociologist would 
most probably be at lunch and would, therefore, possibly ask to 
delay contact. 

‘Lunch ! ’ said Baley shaiply. “Don’t be ridiculous. It’s not noon 
by two hours.’ 

The robot said, 'I am using local time, master.’ 

Baley stared, then understood. On Earth, with its buried 
Qties, day and night, waking and sleeping, were man-made 
periods, adjusted to suit the needs of the community and the 
planet. On a planet such as this one, exposed nakedly to the sun, 
day and night were not a matter of choice at all, but were im- 
posed on man willy-nilly. 

Baley tried to picture a world as a sphere being lit and unlit as 
it turned. He found it hard to do and felt scornful of the so- 
superior Spacers who let such an essential thin g as time be 
dictated to them by the vagaries of planetary movements. 

He said, ‘Contact him, anyway.’ 

Robots were there to meet the plane when it landed and Baley, 
stepping out into the open again, found himself trembling badly. 
He muttered to the nearest of the robots, ‘Let me hold your arm, 
boyi’ 

The sociologist waited for him down the length of a hall, 
smihng tightly. ‘Good afternoon, Mr Baley.’ 

Baley nodded breathlessly. ‘Good evening, sir. Would you 
blank out the windows?’ 

The sociologist said. They are blanked out already. I know 
something of the ways of Earth. Will you follow me?’ ■ 

Baley managed it without robotic help, following at a consider- 
able distance, across and through a maze of hallways. When he 
finally sat down in a large and daborate room, he was glad of the 
opportunity to rest. 

The waUs of the room were set with curved, shallow alcoves. 
Statuary in pink and gold occupied each niche; abstract fibres 
that pleased the eye without yielding instant meaning. A large, 
box-l^e affair with white and dangling cylindrical objects and 
numerous pedals suggested a musical instrument. 

B^y looked at me sociologist standing before him. The 
Spacer looked piedsdy as he had when Bdey had viewed him 
earUet that day. He was tall and thin and his hair was pure white« 

99 



THE NAKED SUN 


His face was strikingly wedge-shaped, bis nose prominent, his 
eyes deep-set and alive. His name was Anselmo Quemot. 

The two stared at one another until Baley felt he could trust 
his voice to be reasonably normal; but his first remark had noth- 
ing to do with the investigation. In fact it was nothing he had 
planned. He said, ‘May I have a drinlc?’ 

‘A drink?’ The sociologist’s voice was a trifle too high-pitched 
to be entirely pleasant. He said, ‘You want water?’ 

Td prefer something alcoholic.’ 

The sociologist’s look grew sharply uneasy, as though the 
obligations of hospitality were something with t^ch he was un- 
acquainted. 

And that, thought Baley, was literally so. In a world where 
viewing was the diing, there would be no sharing of food and 
drink. 

A robot brought him a small cup of smooth enamel. The drink 
was a light pii^ in colour. Baley sniffed at it cautiously and 
tasted it even more cautiously. The small sip of liquid evaporated 
warmly in his mouth and sent a pleasant message ^ng the length 
of bis oesophagus. His next sip was more substantial. 

Quemot said, ‘If you want more ’ 

‘No, thank you, not now. It is good of you, sir, to agree to see 
me.’ 

Quemot tried a smile and failed rather markedly, ‘It has been a 
long time since I’ve done anything like this. Yes.’ 

He almost squipued as he spoke. 

Baley said, ‘1 imagine you find this rather hard.’ 

‘Quite.’ Quemot turned away sharply and retreated to a chah 
at the opposite end of the room. He an^ed the chair so that it 
faced mote away from Baley than towards him and sat down. He 
clasped his gloved hands and his nostrils seemed to quiver. 

Baley finished his drink and felt warmth in his limbs and even 
the return of something of his confidence. 

He said, ‘Exacdy how does it feel to have me here. Dr 
Quemot?’ 

The sociologist muttered, ‘That is an uncommonly personal 
question.’ 

*I know it is. But I think I explained when I viewed you earlier 
that I was engaged in a murder investigation and that I would 
have to ask a great many questions, some of which were bound to 

100 



A ROBOT IS STYMIED 


be personal.’ 

‘I’ll help if I can,’ said Quemot. ‘I hope the questions will be 
decent ones.’ He kept looking away as he spoke. His eyes, when 
they struck Baley’s face, did not linger, but slipped away. 

Baley said, ‘I don’t ask about your feelings out of curiosity 
only. This is essential to the investigation.’ 

‘I don’t see how.’ 

‘I’ve got to know as much as I can about this world. I must 
understand how Solarians feel about ordinary matters. Do you see 
that?’ 

Quemot did not look at Baley at all now. He said slowly, ‘Ten 
years ago, my wife died. Seeing her was never very easy, but, of 
course, it is something one learns to bear in time and she was not 
the intrusive sort. I have been assigned no new wife since 1 am 
past the age of — of — ^he looked at Baley as though requesting 
him to supply the phrase, and when Baley did not do so, he 
continued in a lower voice — ‘siring. Without even a wife, I have 
grown quite unused to this pheimmenon of seeing.’ 

‘But how does it feel?’ insisted Baley. ‘Are you in panic?* He 
thought of himself on the plane. 

‘No. Not in panic.’ Quemot angled his head to catch a glimpse 
of Baley and almost instantly withdrew. ‘But .1 will be frank, Mr 
Baley. I imagine I can smell you.’ 

Bdey automatically leaned back in his chair, painfully sdf- 
conscious. ‘Smell me?’ 

‘Quite imaginary, of course,’ said Quemot. ‘I cannot say 
whether you do have an odour or how strong it is, but even if you 
had a strong one, my nose filters would keep it from me. Yet;, 
imagination . . .’ He shrugged his shoulders. 

‘I understand.’ 

‘It’s worse. You’ll forgive me, Mr Baley, but in the actual 
presence of a human, I feel strongly as though something slimy 
were about to touch me. I keep drinking away. It is most un- 
pleasant.’ 

Baley rubbed his ear thoughtfully and fought to keep down 
annoyance. After all, it was the other’s neurotic reaction to a 
simple state of affairs. 

He said, ‘If all this is so. I’m surprised you agreed to see me so 
readily. Surely you anticipated this unpleasanmess,’ 

‘I did. But you know, I was curious. You’re an Earthman,’ 

101 



THE NAKED SUN 


Baley thought sardonically that that should have been another 
argument against seeing, but he said only, ‘What does that mat- 
ter?’ 

A kind of jerky enthusiasm entered Quemot’s voice. ‘It’s not 
something I can explain easily. Not even to myself, really. But 
I’ve worked on sociology for ten years now. Really worked. IVe 
developed propositions that are quite new and startling, and yet 
basically true. It is one of these propositions that makes me most 
extraordinarily interested in Earth and Earthmen. You see, if you 
were to consider Solaria’s society and way of life carefully, it 
would become obvious to you that the said society and way of life 
is modelled directly and closely on that of Earth itself.’ 


102 



CHAPTER TEN 


A CULTUKE IS TRACED 

Baley could not prevent himself from crying out, ‘What ! ’ 

Quemot looked over his shoulder as the moments of silence 
passed and said finally, ‘Not Earth’s present culture. No.’ 

Baley said, ‘Oh.’ 

‘But in the past, yes. Earth’s ancient history. As an Earthman, 
you know it, of course.’ 

‘I’ve viewed books,’ said Baley cautiously. 

‘Ah, then you understand.’ 

Baley, who did not, said, ‘Let me explain exactly what I want, 
Dr Quemot. I want you to tell me what you can about why 
Solaria is so different frdm the other Outer Worlds, why there arc 
so many robots, why you behave as you do. I’m sorry ff I seem to 
be changing the subject.’ 

Quemot smiled. ‘You want to compare Solaria and the other 
Outer Worlds and not Solaria and Earth.’ 

‘I know Earth, sir.’ 

‘As you wish.’ The Solarian coughed slightly. ‘Do you mind jf 
I turn my chair completely away from you? It would be more — 
more comfortable.’ 

‘As you wish. Dr Quemot,’ said Baley stifiSy. 

‘Good.’ A robot turned the chair at Quemot’s low-voiced order, 
and as the sociologist sat there, hidden trom Baley’s eyes by the 
substantial chair-back, his voice took on added life and even 
deepened and strengthened in tone. 

Quemot said, ‘Solaria was first settled about three hundred 
years ago. The original settlers were Nexonians. Ate you ac- 
quainted with Nexon?’ 

‘I’m afraid not.’ 

“It is close to Solaria, only about two parsecs away. In facti 
Solaria and Nexon represent the closest pair ^ inhabited worl^ 
in the Galaxy. Solaria, even when iminhabited by man, was life- 
bearing and eminently suited for human occupation. It iepr&< 

103 



THE HAKED SUN 


sented an obvious attraction to the well-to-do of Nexon, who 
found it difficult to maintain a proper standard of living as their 
own planet filled up.’ 

Baley interrupt^. ‘Filled up? I thought Spacers practised 
population control.’ 

‘Solaria does, but the Outer Worlds in general control it rather 
laxly, Nexon was completing its second million of population at 
the time. There was sufficient crowding to make it necessary to 
regulate the number of robots that might be owned by a par- 
ticular family. So those Nexonians who could afford it established 
summer homes on Solaria, which was fertile, temperate, and 
without dangerous fauna. 

‘The setders on Solaria could still reach Nexon without too 
much trouble and while on Solaria they could live as they 
pleased. Estates could be as large as desired since, with an empty 
planet, room was no problem, and with unlimited robots, ex- 
ploitation was no problem. 

‘Robots grew to be so many that they were outfitted with radio 
contact and that was the beginning of our famous robot in- 
dustries. We began to develop new varieties, new attachments, 
new capabilities. Culture dictates invention; a phrase, I believe I 
have invented.’ Quemot chuckled. 

Here a robot, responding to some stimulus Baley could not see 
beyond the barrier of the chair, brought Quemot a drink similar 
to that Baley had had earlier. None was brought to Baley, and he 
decided not to ask for one. 

Quemot went on, ‘The advantages of life on Solaria were 
obvious to all who watched. Solaria became fashionable. More 
Nexonians established homes, and Solatia became what I like to 
call a “villa planet.” More and more settlers took to remaining on 
the planet all the year round and to tunning their businesses on 
Nexon through proxies. Robot factories were established on 
Solaria. Farms and mines were exploited to the point where ex- 
ports were possible. 

‘In short, Mr Baley, it became obvious that Solaria, in the 
space of a century or less, would be as crowded as Nexon had 
raen. It seemed ndiculous and wasteful to find sudi a new world 
and then lose it through lack of foresight. 

‘To spare you a great deal of complicated politics, I need say 
only that Solaria managed to establish its independence and make 

104 



A CULTURE IS TRACED 

it Stick without war. Our usefulness to other Outer Worlds as a 
source of specialty robots gained us friends and helped us^ of 
course. 

‘Once independent, our first care was to make sure that popula- 
tion did not grow beyond reasonable limits. We regulate im- 
migration and births and take care of all needs by increasing and 
diversifying the robots we use.’ 

Baley said, ‘Why is it the Solarians object to seeing one 
another?’ 

Quemot peeped around the comer of his chair but retreated 
almost at once. ‘It follows inevitably. We have huge estates. An 
estate ten thousand square miles in area is not uncommon, al- 
though the largest ones contain considerable unproductive areas. 
My own estate is nine hundred and fifty square milfts in area but 
every bit of it is good land. 

‘In any case, it is the size of an estate, more than anything else, 
that determines a man’s position in society. And one property of a 
large estate is this: You can wander about in it almost aimlessly 
widi little or no danger of entering a neighbour’s territory and 
thus encountering your neighbour. You see?’ 

Baley shrugged his shoulders. ‘I suppose I do.’ 

‘In short, a Solarian takes pride in not meeting his neighbour. 
At the same time, bis estate is so well run by robots and so self- 
sufficient that there is no reason for him to have to meet his 
neighbour. The desire not to do so led to the development of ever 
more perfect viewing equipment, and as the viewing equipment 
grew better there was less and less need ever to see one’s neigh- 
bour. It was a reinforcing cycles a kind of feed-back. Do you 
see?’ 

Baley said, ‘Look here. Dr Quemot. You don’t have to make all 
this so simple for me. I’m not a sociologist but I’ve had the usual 
elementary courses in college. It’s only an Earth college, of 
course,’ Baley added with a reluctant modesty designed to ward 
off the same comment, in more insulting terms, from the other, 
‘but I can follow mathematics.’ 

‘Mathematics?’ said Quemot, his voice squeaking the last 
syllable. 

‘Well, not the stuff they use in robotics, which I wouldn't 
follow, but sociological relation^ps I can hwdle. For instance, 
I’m familiar with the Teramin Relationship.’ 

ins 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘The what, sir?’ 

‘Maybe you have a different name for it. The differential of 
inconveniences suffered with privileges granted : dee eye sub jay 
taken to the nth ’ 

‘What are you talking about?’ It was the sharp and peremptory 
tone of a Spacer that Baley heard and he was silenced in be. 
wilderment. 

Surely the relationship between inconveniences suffered and 
privileges granted was part of the very essentials of learning how 
to handle people without an explosion. A private stall in the com- 
munity bathroom for one person, given for cause, would keep * 
persons waiting patiently for the same lightning to strike them, 
the value of x varying in known ways with known variations in 
environment and human temperament, as quantitatively de- 
scribed in the Teramin Relationship. 

But then again, in a world where all was privilege and nothing 
Inconvenience, the Teramin Relationship might reduce to trivi- 
ality. Perhaps he had diosen the wrong example. 

He tried again. ‘Look, sir, it’s one thing to get a qualitative fill- 
in on the growth of this prejudice against seeing, but it isn’t 
helpful for my purposes. I want to know the exact analysis of the 
prejudice so I can counteract it effectively. I want to persuade 
people to see me, as you are doing now.’ 

‘Mr Baley,’ said Quemoli ‘you can’t treat human emotions as 
thou^ they were built about a positronic brain.’ 

‘I’m not saying you can. Robotics is a deductive science and 
sociology an inductive one. But mathematics can be made to 
apply in either case.’ 

There was silence for a moment. Then Quemot spoke in a voice 
that trembled. ‘You have admitted that you are not a sociologist.’ 

‘I know. But I was told you were one. The best on the planet.’ 

‘1 am the only one. You tnight almost say I have invented the 
science.’ 

‘Oh?’ Baley hesitated over the next question. It sounded im- 
pertinent even to himself. 'Have you viewed books on the sub- 
ject?’ 

Tve looked at some Auroran books.’ 

Have you looked at bools from Earth?’ 

‘Earth?’ Quemot laughed uneasily, ‘It wouldn’t have occurred 
to me to read any of Earth’s scientific productions. No offence 

106 



A CULTURE IS TRACED 


intended.* 

‘Well, I’m sorry. I had thought I would be able to get specific 
data that would make it possible for me to interview others face 
to face without having to * 

Quemot made a queer, grating, inarticulate sound and the large 
chair in which he sat scraped backwards then went over with a 
crash. 

A muffled ‘My apologies’ was caught by Baley. 

Baley had a momentary glimpse of Quemot running with an 
ungainly stride, then he was out of the room and gone. ' 

Baley’s eyebrows lifted. What the devil had he said this time? 
Jehoshaphatl What wrong button had he pushed? 

Tentatively he rose from his seat, and stopped half-way as a 
robot entered. 

‘Master,’ said the robot, ‘I have been directed to inform you 
that the master will view you in a few moments.’ 

‘View me, boy?’ 

‘Yes, master. In the meanwhile, you may desire further re- 
freshment.’ 

Another beaker of the pink liquid was at Baley’s elbowed this 
time a dish of some confection, warm and fragrant, was added. 

Baley took his seat again, sampled the liquor cautiously and 
put it down. The confection was hard to the touch and warm, but 
the crust broke easily in the mouth and the inner portion was at 
once considerably warmer and softer. He could not identify the 
components of the taste and wondered if it might not be a 
product of the native spices or condiments of Solaria. 

Then he thought of the restricted, yeast-derived dietary of - 
Earth and wondered if there might be a market for yeast strains 
designed to imitate the tastes of Outer World products. 

But his thoughts broke off sharply as sociologist Quemot a^ 
peared out of nowhere and faced him. Faced him this time!. He 
sat in a smaller chair in a room in which the walls and floor 
clashed sharply with those surrounding Baley. And he was smil- 
ing now, so that fine wrinkles on his face deq>ened and, para- 
doxically, gave him a more youthful appearance by accentuating 
the life m nis eyes. 

He said, ‘A thousand pardons, Mr Baley. I thought I was en- 
during personal presence so well, but that was a delusion, 1 was 

107 



THE NAKED SUN 


quite on edge and your phrase pushed me over it, in a manni^] . q{ 
speaking.’ 

‘What phrase was that, sir?’ 

‘You said something about interviewing people face to ’ He 

shook his head, his tongue dabbing quickly at his lips, ‘I would 
rather not say it, I think you know what I mean. The phrase 
conjured up the most striking picture of the two of us breathing- 
breathing one another’s breath.’ The Solarian shuddered. ‘Don’t 
you find that repulsive?’ 

‘I don’t know that I’ve ever thou^t of it so,’ 

‘It seems so filthy a habit. And as you said it and the picture 
arose in my mind, I realised that after all we were in die same 
room and even though I was not facing you, puffs of air that had 
been in your lungs must be reaching me and entering mine. With 
my sensitive frame of mind ' 

Baley said, ‘Molecules all over Solaria’s atmosphere have been 
in thousands of lungs. Jehoshaphatl They’ve been in the lungs of 
animals and the gilk of fish.’ 

‘That is true,’ said Quemot with a rueful rub of his cheek, ‘and 
I’d just as soon not think of that, either. However, there was a 
sense of immediacy to the situation with yourself actually there, 
and with both of us inhaling and exhaling. It’s amazing the rdief 
I feel in viewing.’ 

‘I’m still in &e same house, Dr Quemot.’ 

‘That’s precisely what is so amazing about the relief. You are 
in the same house and yet just the use of the trimensionals makes 
all the difference. At least I Imow what seeing a stranger feels like 
now, I won’t try it again.’ 

‘That sounds as though you were experimenting with seeing.’ 

‘In a way,’ said the Spacer, ‘I suppose I was. It was a minor 
motivation. And the results were interesting, even if they were 
disturbing as wdl. It was a good test and I may record it.’ , 

‘Record what?’ asked Brdey, puzzled. 

*My feelings 1’ Quemot returned puzzled stare for puzzled 
stare. 

Baley sigjhed. Cross-purposes. Always cross-purposes. *I only 
asked because somehow I assumed you would have instruments of 
some sort to measure emotional responses. An electroencephak^ 
graph, perhaps.’ He loolsd about fruitlessly, ‘Though I suppose 
you could have a pocket version of the same that works without 

108 



A CULTURE IS TRACED 

direct electrical connection. We don’t have anything like that on 
Earth.’ 

‘I trust,’ said the Solarian stiffly, ‘that I am able to estimate 
the nature of my own feeh'ngs without an instrument. They were 
pronounced enough.’ 

‘Yes, of course, but for quantitative analysis . . .’ began Baley. 

Quemot said querulously, *1 don’t know what you’re driving at. 
Besides I’m trying to tell you something else, my own theory, in 
fact, something I have viewed in no books, something I am quite 
proud of ’ 

Baley said, ‘Exactly what is that, sir?’ 

‘Why, the manner in which Solaria’s culture is based oh one 
existing in Earth’s past.’ 

Baley sighed. If he didn’t allow the other to get it off his chest, 
there might be very little co-operation thereafter. He said, ‘And 
that is?’ 

‘Sparta!’ said Quemot, lifting his head so fat that for a 
moment his white hair glistened in the light and seemed almost a 
halo. ‘I’m sure you’ve heard of Sparta!’ 

Baley felt relieved. He had been mightily interested in Earth’s 
ancient past in his younger days. It was an attractive study to 
many Earthmen — an Earth supreme because it was an Earth 
alone; Earthmen the masters because there were no Spacers. But 
Earth’s past was a large one. Quemot might well have refened to 
some phase with whidh Baley was unacquainted and that would 
have been embarrassing. As it was, he could say cautiously, ‘Yes, 
I’ve viewed films on the subject.’ 

‘Good. Good. Now Sparta in its heyday consisted of a rela- 
tively small number of Spartiates, the only full citizens, plus a 
somewhat larger number of second-class individuals, the Perioeci, 
and a really large number of outright slaves, dte Helots. The 
Helots outnumbered the Spartiates a matter of twenty to one, and 
die Helots were men with human feelings and human failings. 

‘In order to make certain that a Helot rebellion could never be 
successful despite their overwhelming numbers, the Spartans 
became military specialists. Each lived the life of a military 
machine, and the society achieved its purpose. There was never 
a successful Helot revolt. 

‘Now we human beings on Solaria are equivalent, in a way, to 
the Spartiates. We have out Helots, but our Helots armi’t men but 

109 



THE NAKED SUN 


machines. They cannot revolt and need not be feared even though 
they outnumber us a thousand times as badly as the Spartans’ 
human Helots outnumbered them. So we have the advantage of 
Spartiate exclusiveness without any need to sacrifice ourselves to 
rigid mastery. We can, instead, model ourselves on the artistic 
and cultural way of Itfe of the Athenians, who were contem- 
poraries of the Spartans and who ’ 

Baley said, ‘I’ve viewed films on the Athenians, too.’ 

Quemot grew warmer as he spoke. ‘Qvilisations have always 
been pyramidal in structure. As one climbs towards the apex of 
the social edifice, there is increased leisure and increasing op- 
portunity to pursue happiness. As one climbs, one finds also fewer 
and fewer people to enjoy this more and more. Invariably, there 
is a preponderance of the dispossessed. And remember this, no 
matter how well off the bottom layers of the pyramid might be on 
an absolute scale, they are always dispossessed in comparison 
with the apex. For instance, even the most poorly-off humans on 
Aurora are better off than Earth’s aristocrats, but they are dis- 
possessed with respect to Aurora’s aristocrats, and it is with the 
masters of their own world that they compare themselves. 

*So there is always social friction in ordinary human societies. 
The action of social revolution and the reaction of guarding 
a^nst such revolution or combating it once it has begun are the 
causes of a great deal of the human misery with which history is 
permeated. 

‘Now here on Solaria, for the first time, the apex of the 
pyramid stands alone. In the place of the dispossessed are the 
robots. We have the first new sodety, the first really new one, the 
first great social invention since the farmers of Sumeria and 
Egypt invented cities.’ 

He sat back now, smiling. 

Baley nodded. ‘Have you published this?’ 

‘I may,’ said Quemot with an affectation of carelessness, ‘some 
day. I haven’t yet. This is my third contribution.’ 

‘Were the o^er two as broad as this?’ 

‘They weren’t in sociology. I have been a sculptor in my time. 
The work you see about you’— -he indicated the statuary — ‘is my 
own. And I have been a composer, too. But I am getting older 
and Rikaine Delmarre always argued strongly in favour of the 
applied arts rather than the fine arts so I dedded to go in for 

tin 



A CULTURE IS TRACED 

sociology.’ 

Baley said, ‘That sounds as though Delmarre was a good friend 
of yours.’ 

‘We knew one another. At my time in life, one knows all adult 
Solarians. But there is no reason not to agree that Bikaine Del- 
marre and I were well acquainted.’ 

‘What sort of a man was Delmarre?* Strangely enough, the 
name of the man brought up the picture of Gladia in Baley’s 
mind and he was plagued with a sudden, sharp recall of her as he 
had hist seen her, furious, her face distorted with anger at him. 

Quemot looked a bit thoughtful. ‘He was a worthy manj 
devoted to Solaria and its way of life.’ 

‘An idealist, in other words.’ 

‘Yes. Definitely, You could see that in the fact that he volun- 
teered for his job as — foetal engineer. It was an applied art, you 
see, and I told you his feelings about that.’ 

‘Was volunteering unusual?’ 

‘Wouldn’t you say But I forget you’re an Earthman. Yes, 

it is unusual. It’s one of those jobs that must be done, yet finds 
no voluntary takers. Ordinarily, someone must be assigned to it 
for a period of so many years and it isn’t pleasant to be the one 
chosen. Delmarre volunteered, and for life. He felt the position 
was too important to be left to reluctant draftees, and he per- 
suaded me into that opinion, too. Though I certainly would never 
have volunteered. I couldn’t possibly have made the personal 
sacrifice. And it was more of a sacrifice for him, since he was 
almost a fanatic in personal hygiene.’ 

‘I’m still not certain I understand the nature of his job.’ 

Quemot’s old cheeks flushed gently. ‘Hadn’t you better discuss 
that with his assistant?’ 

Baley said, ‘I would certainly have done so by now, sir, if 
anyone had seen fit to tell me braore this moment that he had an 
assistant.’ 

‘I’m sorry about that,* said Quemot, ‘but the existence of the 
assistant is another measure of his social responsibility. No pre- 
vious occupant of the post provided for one. Delmarre, however, 
felt it necessary to find a suitable youngster and conduct the 
necessary training himself so as to leave a professional heir 
behind when the time came for him to retire or, well, die.’ The 
old Solatian sighed heavily. ‘Yet I outlived him and he was so 

in 



THE NAKED SUN 


3iuch younger. I used to play chess with him. Many times,’ 

'How did you manage that?’ 

Quemot’s eyebrows lifted. 'The usual way.’ 

'You saw one another?’ 

Quemot looked horrified. 'What an idea! Even if I could 
stomach it, Dclmaric would never allow it for an instant. Being 
foetal engineer didn’t blunt his sensibilities. He was a finicky 
man.’ 

'Then how ’ 

‘Widi two boards as any two people would play chess.’ The 
Solarian shrugged his shoulders in a sudden gesture of tolerance. 
‘Wdl, you’re an Earthman. My moves registered on his board, 
and his on mine. It’s a simple matter.’ 

Balcy said, ‘Do you know Mrs Dehnarre?’ 

‘We’ve viewed one another. She’s a field colourist, you know, 
and I’ve viewed some of her showings. Fine work in a way but 
more interesting as curiosities than as creations. StiU, they’re 
amusing and show a perceptive mind.’ 

‘Is she capable of kilUng her husband, would you say?’ 

*I haven’t given it thou^t. Women are surj^rising creatures. But 
then, there’s scarcely room for argument, is there? Only Mrs 
Dclmarte could have been close enough to Rikaine to kiU him. 
Rikaine would never, under any circumstances, have allowed any- 
one else seeing privileges for any reason. Extremely finicky. Per- 
haps finicky is the wrong word. It was just that nc lacked any 
trace of abnormality; anything of the perverse. He was a good 
Solarian.’ 

‘Would you call your granting me seeing privileges perverse?’ 
asked Baley, 

Quemot said, 'Yes, I think I would. I should say there was a 
bit of scatophilia involved.’ 

'Could Dehnarre have been killed for political reasons?’ 

‘What?’ 

‘I’ve heard him called a Traditionalist.’ 

‘Oh, we all are.’ 

‘You mean there is a group of Solarians who are not Tradition- 
alists?’ 

‘I date say there are some,’ said Quemot slowly, ‘who think it 
is dangerous to be too Traditionalist. They ate over-conscious of 
our small population, of the way the other worlds outnumber us. 

112 



^ A CULTURE IS TRACED 

They think we are defenceless against possible aggression from 
the other Outer Worlds. They’re quite foolish to think so and 
there aren’t many of them. I don’t think they’re a force,’ 

‘Why do you say they are foolish? Is there anything about 
Solaria that would affect the balance of power in spite of the 
great disadvantage of numbers? Some new tyjpe of weapon?’ 

‘A weapon, certainly. But not a new one. The people I speak of 
are more blind than foolish not to realise that such a weapon is in 
operation continually and cannot be resisted.’ 

Baley’s eyes narrowed. ‘Are you serious?’ 

‘Certainly,’ 

‘Do you know the nature of the weapon?’ 

‘All of us must. You do, if you stop to think of it. I see it a 
trifle easier than most, perhaps, since I am a sociologist. To be 
sure, it isn’t used as a weapon ordinarily is used. It doesn’t kill or 
hurt, but it is irresistible even so. All die more irresistible because 
no one notices it.’ 

Baley said with annoyance, ‘And just what is this non-lethal 
weapon?’ 

Quemont said, ‘The positronic robot.’ 


113 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 


A FARM IS INSPECTED 

For a moment Balcy went cold. The positronic robot was the 
symbol of Spacer superiority over Earthmen. That was weapon 
enough. 

He kept his voice steady. ‘It’s an economic weapon. Solaria is 
important to the Outer World as a source of advanced models and 
so it will not be harmed by them.’ 

‘That’s an obvious point,’ said Quemot indifferently. ‘That 
helped us to establish our independence. What I have in mind is 
something else, something more subtle and more cosmic,’ 
Quemot’s eyes were fixed on his fingers’ ends and his mind was 
obviously fixed on abstractions. 

Baley said, ‘Is this another of your sociological theories?’ 

Quemot’s poorly suppressed look of pride all but forced a short 
smile out of the Earthman. 

The sociologist said, ‘It is indeed mine. Original, as far as 
I know, and yet obvious if population data on the Outer Worlds is 
carefully studied. To begin with, ever since the positronic robot 
was invented, it has been used more and more intensively every- 
where.’ 

‘Not on Earth,’ said Baley. 

‘Now, now, Flainclothcsman. I don’t know much of your 
Earth, but I know that robots are entering your economy. You 
people live in large Cities and leave most of your planetary sur- 
face unoccupied. Who runs your farms and mines, then?’ 

‘Robots,’ admitted Baley. ‘But if it comes to that, Doctor, 
Earthmen invented the positronic robot in the first place,’ 

‘They did? Are you sure?’ 

‘You can dieck. It’s true.’ 

‘Interesting. Yet robots made the least headway there.’ The 
sociologist said thoughtfully, ‘Perhaps that is because of Earth’s 
large population. It would take that much longer. Yes . . . Still, 
you have robots even in your Cities.’ 

114 



A FARM IS INSPECTED 

‘Yes,’ said Baley. 

‘More now than, say, fifty years ago.’ 

Baley nodded impatientiy. ‘Yes.’ 

‘Then it<fits. The difference is only one of time. Robots tend to 
displace labour. The robot economy moves in only one direction. 
More robots and fewer humans. I’ve studied population data pety 
car^ully and I’ve plotted it and made a few extrapolations.* He 
paused in sudden surprise. ‘Why, that’s rather an application of 
mathematics to sociology, isn’t it?’ 

‘It is,’ said Baley. 

‘There may be something to it, at that. I will have to give the 
matter thought. In any case, these are the conclusions to which I 
have come. The robot-human ratio in any economy that has 
accepted robot labour tends continuously to increase despite any 
laws that are passed to prevent it. The increase is slowed, but 
never stopped. At first the human population increases, but the 
robot population increases much more quickly. Then, after a 
certain critical point is reached the human population begins to 
decline. A planet approaches a true social stability. Aurora will 
have to. Even your Earth will have to. Earth may take a few mote 
centuries, but it is inevitable.’ 

‘What do you mean by social stability?’ 

‘The situation here in Solaria, a world in which the humans are 
the only leisured class. So there is no reason to fear the other 
Outer Worlds. We need only wait a century perhaps and they will 
all be Solarians. I suppose mat will be the end of human history, ' 
in a way; at least, its fulfilment. Finally, finally, all men will 
have all they can need and want. You know, there is a phrase I 
once picked up; I don’t know where it comes from; something 
about the pursuit of happiness.’ 

Baley said thoughtfully, ‘All men are “endowed by their 
Creator with certain unalienable rights . . , among these are life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” ’ 

‘You’ve hit it. Where’s that from?’ 

‘Some old document,’ said Baley. 

‘Do you see how that is changed here on Solaria and eventually 
in all the Galaxy? The pursuit will be over. The rights mankind 
will be heir to will be life, liberty, and happiness. Just that. Hap- 
piness.’ 

Baley said dryly, ‘Maybe so, but a man has been killed on your 

H5 



THE NAKED SUN 


Solaria and another may yet die.’ 

He felt regret almost the moment he spoke, for the expression 
on Quemot’s face was as though he had been struck with an open 
palm. The old man’s head bowed. He said without looldng up, ‘I 
have answered your questions as well as I could. Is there anything 
else you wish?’ 

‘I have enough. Thank you, sir. I am sorry to have intruded on 
your grief at your friend’s death.’ 

Quemot looked up slowly. ‘It will be bard to find another chess 
partner. He kept our appointments most punctually and he played 
an extraordinarily even game. He was a good Solarian.’ 

‘I understand,’ said Baley softly. ‘May I have your permission 
to use your viewer to make contact with the next person I must 
see?’ 

‘Of course,’ said Quemot. ‘My robots are yours. And now I 
will leave you. Done viewing.’ 

A robot was at Baley’a side within thirty seconds of Quemot’s 
disappearance and Baley wondered once again how these 
creatures were managed. He had seen Quemot’s fingers move 
towards a contact as he had left and that was all. 

Perhaps the signal was quite a generalised one, saying only, 
‘Do your duty I’ Perhaps robots listened to all that went on and 
were always aware of what a human might desire at any given 
moment, and if the particular robot was Dot designed for a parti- 
cular job in either mind or body, the radio web that united all 
robots went into action and the correct robot was spurred into 
action. 

For a moment Baley had- the vision of Solaria as a robotic net 
with holes that were small and continually growing smaller, with 
every human being caught neatly in plwe. He thought of 
Quemot’s picture of worlds turning into Solarias; of nets forming 
and tightening even on Earth, untu 

His thoughts were disrupted as the robot who had entered 
spoke with &e quiet and even respect of the machine. , 

*I am ready to help you, master,’ 

Baley said, ‘Do you Imow how to reach the place where Rikaine 
Delmarre once worked?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

Baley shrugged his shoulders. He would never teach himself to 

116 



A FARM IS INSPECTED 

avoid asking useless questions. The robots knew. Period. It oc- 
curred to him that, to handle robots with true eilirlency, one must 
needs be expert, a sort of roboticist. How well did the average 
Solarian do, he wondered? Probably only so-so. 

He said, ‘Get Delmarre’s place and contact his assistant I If the 
assistant is not there, locate him wherever he is ! ’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

As the robot turned to go, Baley called after it, ‘Wait! What 
time is it at the Delmarre workplace?’ 

‘About 0630, master.’ 

‘In the morning?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

Again Baley felt annoyance at a world that made itself victim 
of the coming and going of a sun. It was what came of living on 
bare planetary surface. 

He thought fugitively of Eaith, then tore his mind away. While 
he kept firmly to the matter in hand, he managed well. Slipping 
into homesickness would ruin him. 

He said, ‘Call the assistant, anyway, boy, and tell him it’s 
government business — and have one of me other boys bring some- 
thing to eat. A sandwich and a glass of milk will do.’ 

He chewed thoughtfully at the sandwich, which contained a 
kind of smoked meat, and with half his mind thought that Daneel 
Olivaw would certainly consider every article of food suspect 
^ter what had happened to Gruer. Daneel might be right too. 

He finished the sandwich without ill effects, however, and 
sipped the milk. He had not learned from Quemot what he had 
come to learn, but he had learned something'. As he sorted it out 
in his mind, it seemed that he had learned a good deal. little 
about the murder, to be sure, but more about the larger matter. 

The robot returned. ‘The assistant will accept contact, master.’ 

‘Was there any trouble about it?’ 

‘The assistant was asleep, master.’ 

‘Awake now, though?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

The assistant was facing him suddenly, sitting up in bed and 
wearing an expression of sullen resentment. 

Baley reared back as though a force-barrier had been raised 
before him without warning. Once again a piece of vital informa- 

117 



THE NAKED SUN 


tioti had been withlield from him. Once again he had not asked 
the right questions. 

No one had thought to tell him that Rikaine Dclmarre’s assis- 
tant was a woman. 

Her hair was a trifle darker titan ordinary Spacer bronze and 
there was a quantity of it, at the moment in disorder. Her face 
was oval, her nose a trifle bulbous, and her chin large. She 
scratched slowly at her side just above the waist and Baley hoped 
the sheet would remain in position. He remembered Gladia’s free 
attitude towards what was permitted while viewing. 

Baley felt a sardonic amusement at his own disillusion at that 
moment. Earthmen assumed, somehow, that all Spacer women 
were beautiful, and certainly Gladia had reinforced that assump- 
tion. This one, though, was plain even by Earthly standards. 

It therefore surprised Baley that he found her contralto attrac- 
tive when she said, ‘See here, do you know what time it is?’ 

*I do,’ said Baley, ‘but since I will be seeing you, I felt I should 
warn you.’ 

‘Seeing me? Skies above ’ Her eyes grew wide and she put 

a hand to her chin. She wore a ring on one finger, the first item of 
personal adornment Baley had yet seen on Solaria. 

‘Wait, you’re not my new assistant, arc you?’ 

‘No. Nothing like that. I’m here to investigate the death of 
Rikaine Dclmarre.’ 

‘Oh? Well, investigate, then!’ 

‘What is your name?’ 

‘Klorissa Cantoro.’ 

‘And how long have you been working with Dr Dclmarre?’ 

‘Three years.’ 

‘I assume you’re now at the place of business,’ (Baley felt un- 
comfortable at that non-committal phrase, but he did not know 
what to call a place where a foetal ci^ineer worked.) 

‘If you mean, am I at the farm?’ said Klorissa discontentedly, 
‘I certainly am. I haven’t left it since the old man was done in, 
and 1 won’t leave it, looks like, till an assistant is assigned to me. 
Can you arrange that, by the way?’ 

‘I’m sorry, ma’am. I have no influence with anyone here.’ 

‘Thought I’d ask.’ 

Klorissa pulled off the sheet and climbed out of bed without any 
self-consciousness. She was wearing a one-piece Isleeping suit and 

118 



A FARM IS INSPECTED 

her hand went to the notch of tlie seam, where it ended at the 
neck. 

Baley said hurriedly, ‘Just one moment. If you’ll agree to see 
me, that will end my business with you for now and you may 
dress in privacy.’ 

‘In privacy?’ She put out her lower lip and stared at Baley 
curiously. ‘You’re fimeky, aren’t yOu? Like the boss.’ 

‘Will you see me? I would like to look over the farm.’ 

‘I don’t get this business about seeing, but if you want to view 
the farm I’ll tour you. If you’ll give me a chance to wash and take 
care of a few things and wake up a little. I’ll enjoy the break in 
routine.’ 

‘I don’t want to view anything. I want to see.* 

The woman cocked her head to one side and her keen look had 
something of professional interest in it, ‘Are you a pervert or 
something? When was the last time you underwent a gene 
analysis?’ 

‘Jehoshaphatl’ muttered Baley. ‘Look, I’m Elijah Baley. I’m 
from Earth.’ 

‘From Earth?’ She cried vehemently. ‘Skies above! Whatever 
are you doing here? Or is this some kind of complicated joke?’ 

‘I’m not joking. I’m a plainclothesman, a detective, I was 
called in to investigate Delmarre’s death,’ 

‘But I thought everyone knew his wife did it.’ 

‘No, ma’am, there’s some question about it in my mind. May Z 
have your permission to see the farm and jrou. As an Eatthman, 
you understand, I’m not acaistomed to viewing. It makes me 
uncomfortable. I have permission from the Head of Security to 
see people who might help me. I will show you the .document, if 
you wish.’ 

‘Let’s see it.’ 

Baley held the official strip up before her im^ed eyes. 

She shook her head. ‘Seeing! It’s filthy, Sill, skies above, 
what’s a little more filth in thh filthy job? Look here thou^, 
don’t you come close to me! You stay a good distance away! We 
can shout or send messages by robot, if we have to. You under* 
stand?’ 

‘I understand.’ 

Her sleeping suit split open at the seam just as contact broke 
off and the last word he heard from her was a muttered ; ‘Earth** 

T19 



THE NAKED SUN 


man!’ 

‘That’s dose enough,’ said Klorissa. 

Balcy, who was some twenty-five feet from the woman, said, 
‘It’s all right this distance, but I’d like to get indoors quickly.’ 

It had not been so bad tliis time, somehow. He had scarcely 
minded the plane trip, but tlierc was no point in overdoing it. He 
kept himself from yanking at bis collar to allow himself to 
breathe more freely. 

Klorissa said sharply, ‘What’s wrong with you? You look kind 
of beat.’ 

Balcy said, ‘I’m not used to the outdoors.’ 

‘That’s right! Earthman! You’ve got to be cooped up or some- 
thing. Skies above I ’ Her tongue passed over her lips as though it 
tasted something unappetising. 'Well, come in, then, but let me 
move out of the way first. All right. Get in !’ 

Her hair was in two thick braids that wound about her head it 
a complicated geometrical pattern. Balcy wondered how long it 
took to arrange like that and then remembered that, in all prob 
ability, the unerring mechanical fingers of a robot did the job. 

The hair set olT her oval face and gave it a kind of symmetrj 
that made it pleasant if not pretty. She did not wear any facia 
make-up, nor, for that matter, were her clothes meant to do mort 
than cover her serviceably. For the most part they were a sub- 
dued dark blue excent for her gloves, which covered her to mid 
atm and were a badly clashing lilac in colour. Apparently the;i 
were not part of her ordinary costume. Baley noted ihe thickenin. 
of one finger of the gloves owing to the presence of the rinr 
underneath. 

They remained at opposite ends of the room, facing on 
another. 

Baley said, ‘You don’t like this, do you, ma’am?’ 

Klorissa shrugged her shoulders. ‘Why should I like it? I’m nc 
an animal. But I can stand it. You get pretty hardened, when yo 
deal with — with’ — she paused, and then her chin went up a 
thou^ she had made up her mind to say what she had to sa 
without mincit^ matters — ‘with children.’ 

She pronounced the word with careful precision, 

‘You sound as though you don’t like the job you have.* 

‘It’s an important job. It must be done. Still, I don’t like it.’ 

‘Did Rikaine Ddmarre like it?’ 

120 



A FAKM IS INSPECTED 

‘I suppose he didn’t, but he never showed it. He was a good 
Solarian.’ 

‘And he was finicky,’ 

Klorissa looked surprised. 

Balcy said, ‘You yourself said so. When we were viewmg and I 
said you ini^t dress in private, you said I was finictqr like the 
boss.’ 

‘Oh. Well, he «ias finicky. Even viewing he never took any 
liberties. Always proper.’ 

‘Was that unusual?’ 

‘It shouldn’t be. Ideally, you’re supposed to be proper, but no 
one ever is. Not when viewing. There’s no personal presence in- 
volved so why take any pains? You know? I don’t take pains 
when viewing, except witi the boss. You had to be formal with 
him.’ 

‘Did you admire Dr Delmarre?’ 

‘He was a good Solarian.’ 

Baley said, ‘You’ve called this place a farm and you’ve men- 
doned children. Do you bring up children here?’ 

‘From the age of a month. Every foetus on Solaria comes here.’ 

‘Foetus?’ 

‘Yes.’ She frowned. ‘We get them a month after concepdon. 
Does this embarrass you?’ 

‘No,’ Baley said shortly. ‘Can you show me around?’ 

‘I can. But keep your distance.’ 

Baley’s long face took on a stony grimness as he looked down 
the length of me long room from above. There was glass between 
the room and themselves. On the other side, he was sure, was 
perfectly controlled heat, perfectly controlled humidity, perfeedy 
controlled asepsis. Those tante, row on row, ea^ contained its 
little creature fioadng in a wavery fluid of precise composition, 
infused with a nutrient mixture of ideal proportions. Life and 
growth went on. 

Little things, some smaller than half his fist, curled on them- 
selves, with bulging skulls and tiny budding limbs and vanishing 
tails, 

Klorissa, from her position twenty feet away, said, ‘How do 
you like it, Plainclothesman?’ 

Baley said, ‘How many do you have?’ 

‘Actually to morning, one hundred and fifty-two. We receive 

171 



THE NAKED SUN 


\ 


fifteen, to twenty each month and we graduate as many to in- 
dependence.’ 

Us this the only institution on the planet?’ 

‘That’s right. It’s enough to keep tiie population steady, count- 
ing on a life expectancy of three hundred years and a population 
of twenty thousand. This building is quite new. Dr Delmrie 
supervised its construction and made many changes in our pro- 
cedures, Our foetal death rate now is virtually zero,’ • 

Robots threaded their way among the tanfe. At each tank they 
stopped and checked controls in a tireless, meticulous way, look- 
ing in at the tiny embryos within. 

‘Who operates on the mother?’ asked Baley. ‘I mean, to get the 
little things.’ 

‘Doctors,’ answered Kllorissa. 

‘Dr Dehnarrc?’ 

‘Of course not. Medical doctors. You don’t think Dr Delmarre 
would ever stoop to Well, never muid.’ 

‘Why can’t robots be used?’ 

‘Robots in surgery? First Law makes that very difficult, Plain- 
clothcsman, A robot might perform an appendectomy to save a 
human life, if he knew how, but I doubt if he’d be usable after 
that without major repairs. Cutting human llcsh would be quite a 
traumatic experience for a positronic brain. Human doctors can 
manage to get hardened to it. Even to the personal presence re- 
quired.* 

Baley said, ‘I notice that robots tend the foetuses, though. Do 
you and Dr Delmarre ever interfere?’ 

‘We have to, sometimes, when tilings go wrong. If a foetus has 
developmental trouble, for instance. Robots can’t be trusted to 
judge the situation accurately when human life is involved.’ 

Baley nodded. ‘Too much risk of a misjudgment and a life lost, 
I suppose.’ 

‘Not at all. Too much risk of overvaluing a life and saving one 
inroroperly.’ The woman looked stern. ‘As foetal engineers, 
Btuey, we see to it that healthy children are born; healthy ones. 
Even the best gene analysis of parents can’t assure that all gene 
permutations and combinations will be favourable, to say nothing 
of the possibili^ of mutations. That’s our big concern, the un- 
expected mutation,' We’ve got the rate of those down to one in a 
thousand, but that means that, on the average, once a decade, we 
'■ 17 '>, 



A FARM IS INSPECTED 


have trouble,’ 

She motioned him along the balcony and he follovired her. 

She said, ‘I’ll show you the infants’ nurseries and the young- 
sters’ dormitories. They’re much more a problem than the 
foetuses are. With them, we can rely on robot labour only to a 
limited extent.’ 

‘Why is that?’ 

‘You would know, Baley, if you ever tried to teach a robot the 
importance of discipline. First Law makes them almost imper- 
vious to that fact. And don’t think youngsters don’t learn that 
about as soon as they can talk. I’ve seen a three-year-old holding 
a dozen robots motionless by yelling, “You’ll hurt me. I’m hurt.” 
It takes an extremely advanced robot to understand that a child 
might be deliberately lying.’ 

‘Could Delmarre handle the children?’ 

‘Usually.’ 

'How did he do that? Did he get out among them and shake 
sense into them?’ 

‘Dr Delmarre? Touch them? Skies above! Of course not! But 
be could talk to them. And he could give a robot specific orders. 
I’ve seen him viewing a child for fifteen minutes, and keeping a 
robot in spanking position all that time, getting it to spank — 
spank — spank. A few like that and the child would risk fooling 
with the boss no more. And the boss was skilful enough about it 
so that usually the robot didn’t need more than a routine re- 
adjustment afterwards.’ 

‘How about you? Do you get out among the children?’ 

‘I’m afraid I have to sometimes. I’m not like the boss. Maybe 
some day I’ll be able to handle the long-distance stuff, but ri^ht 
now if I tried, I’d just ruin robots. There’s an art in handling 
robots really well, you know. When I think of it, though. Getting 
out among the children. Litde animals I ’ 

She looked back at him suddenly. ‘I suppose you wouldn’t 
mind seeing them.’ 

‘It wouldn’t bother me,’ 

She shrugged her shoulders and stared at him with amusement. 
‘Earthmanl’ She walked on again. ‘What’s all this about anyway? 
You’ll have to end up with Gladia Delmarre as murderess. You’ll 
have to.’ 

‘I’m not quite sure of that,’ said Baley. 

173 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘How could you be anything else but sure? Who else could it 
possibly bo?’ 

‘There are possibilities, ma'am.* 

‘Who, for instance.’ 

‘Well, you, for instance 1 * 

And Klorissa’s reaction to that quite surprised Baley. 


124 



CHAPTER TWELVE 


A TARGET IS MISSED 


She laughed. 

The kughter grew and fed on itself till she was gasping for 
breath and her plump face had reddened almost to purple. She 
leaned against the wall and gasped for breath. 

‘No, don’t come — closer,’ she begged. ‘I’m all right.’ 

Baley said gravely, ‘Is the possibuity that humorous?’ 

She tried to answer and laughed again. Then, in a whisper, she 
said, ‘Oh, you are an Earthman? How could it ever be me?’ 

‘You knew him well,’ said Baley. ‘You knew his habits. You 
could have planned it ’ 

‘And you think I would see him? That I would get dose 
enough to bash him over the head with something? You just don’t 
know anjrthing at all about it, Baley.’ 

Baley felt himself redden. ‘Why couldn’t you get close enough 
to him, ma’am. You’ve had practice — ^uh— mingling.’ 

‘Witih the children.'’ 

‘One thing leads to another. You seem to be able to stand my 
presence.’ 

‘At twenty feet,’ she said contemptuously. 

‘I’ve just visited a man who nearly collapsed becausQ he had to 
endure my presence for a while.’ 

Klorissa sobered and said, ‘A difference in degree.’ 

‘I suggest that a difference in degree is all &at is necessary. 
The habit of seeing children makes it possible to endure seeing 
Delmarre just long enough.’ 

‘I would like to point out, Mr Baley,’ said Klorissa, no longer 
appearing the least amused, ‘that it doesn’t matter a speck what I 
can endure. Dr Delmarre was the fim'cky one. He was almost as 
bad as Leebig himsdUf. Almost. Even if I could endure seeing 
him, he would never endure seeing me. Mrs Delmarre is the only 
one he could possibly have allow^ within seeing distance.’ 

Baley said, ‘Who’s this Leebig you mentioned?’ 

125 



THE KAKBD SUK 


Klofissa shrugged her shoulders. ‘One of these odd-genius 
types, if you know what I mean. He’s done work with &e boss on 
robots.’ 

Balcy checked that off mentally and returned to the matter on 
hand. He said, ‘It could also be said you had a motive.’ 

‘What motive?’ 

‘His death put you in dtargc of this establishment, gave you 
position.’ 

‘You call that a motive? Skies above, who could want this 
position? Who on Solaria? This is a motive for keeping him 
alive. It’s a motive for hovering over him and protecting hhn. 
You’ll have to do better than that, Earthman.’ 

Baley scratched his neck uncertainly with one finger. He saw 
the justice of that. 

Klorissa said, ‘Did you notice my ring, Mr Balcy?’ 

For a moment it seemed she was about to strip the glove from 
her right hand, but she refrained. 

‘I noticed it,’ said Baley. 

‘You don’t taow its significance, I suppose?’ 

‘I don’t.’ (He would never have done with ignorance, he 
thought bitterly.) 

‘Do you mind a small lecture, then?’ 

‘If it will heb me make sense of this damned world,’ blurted 
out Baley, ‘by all means.’ ^ 

‘Skies above 1’ Klorissa smiled. ‘I suppose we seem to you as 
Earth would seem to us. Imagine. Say, here’s an empty chamber. 
Come in here and we’ll sit down — ^no, the room’s not big enough. 
Tell you what, though. You take a seat in there and I’ll stand out 
here.’ 

She stepped farther down the corridor, giving him space to 
enter the room, then returned, taking up her stand against the 
opposite waU at a point from which she could see him. 

Baley took his seat with only the slightest quiver of chivalry 
countering it. He thought rebeluously: Why not? Let the Spacer 
woman stand, 

Klorissa folded her muscular arms across her chest and said, 
‘Gene analysis is the key to our society. We don’t analyse for 
genes directly, of course. Each gene, however, governs one 
enzyme, and we can analyse for enzymes. Know the enzymes, 
know the body chemistry. Know the body chemistry, know the 
/ 126 



A TARGET IS MISSED 

human being. You see all that?’ 

‘I understand the theory,’ said Baley. ‘I don’t know how it’s 
applied.’ 

‘That part’s done here. Blood samples are taken while the 
infant is still in the late foetal stage. That gives us our rough first 
approximation. Ideally, we should catch all mutations at that 
point and judge whedher birth can be risked. In actual fact, we 
still don’t quite know enough to eliminate all possibility of mis- 
take. Some day, maybe. Anyway, we continue testing after birth; 
biopsies as well as body fluids. In any case, long before adult- 
hood, we know exactly what our little boys and girls are made 
of,’ 

Sugar and spice ... A nonsense phrase went unbidden through 
fialey’s mind. 

‘We wear coded rings to indicate our gene constitution,’ said 
Klorissa. ‘It’s an old custom, a bit of the primitive left behind 
from the days when Solarians had not yet been weeded eugeni- 
cally. Nowadays, we’re all healthy.* 

Baley said-, ‘But you still wear yours. Why?’ 

‘Because I’m exceptional,’ she said with an unembarrassed, un- 
blunted pride. ‘Dr Delmarre spent a long time searching for an 
assistant. He needed someone exceptional. Brains, ingenui^, 
industry, stability. Most of all, stability. Someone who could 
learn to mingle with children and not break down.’ 

‘He couldn’t, could he? Was that a measure of his instability?’ 

Klorissa said, ‘In a way, it was, but at least it was a desirable 
type of instability under most circumstances. You wash your 
hands; don’t you?’ 

Baley’s eyes dropped to his hands. They were as dean as need 
be. ‘Yes,’ he said. 

'All right. I suppose it’s a measure of instability to feel such 
revulsion at dirty hands as to be tmable to clean- an oily mech- 
anism by hand even in an emergency. Still, in the ordinary course 
of living, the revulsion keeps you dean, which is good.’ 

‘I see. Go ahead.’ 

‘There’s nothing more. My genic health is the third-highest 
ever recorded on Solaria, so I wear my ring. It’s a record I enjoy 
canydng with me.’ 

‘I congratulate you.’ 

‘You needn’t sneer. It may not be my doing. It may be the 

i'»7 



TUB NAKED SUN 

blind permutation of parental genes, but it’s a proud thing to 
own. Anyway. And no one would believe me capable of so seri- 
ously psychotic an act as murder. Not with my gene make-up. So 
don*t waste accusations on me.’ 

Baley shrugged his shoulders and said nothing. The woman 
seemed to confuse gene make-up and evidence and presumably 
the rest of Splaria would do the same. 

Klorissa said, ‘Do you want to sec the youngsters now?’ 

‘Thank you. Yes.’ 

The corridors seemed to go on fo* ever. Tire building was 
obviously a tremendous one. Nothing like tlie huge banks of 
apartments in the Cities of Earth, of course, but for a single 
building clinging to the outside skin of a planet it must be a 
mountainous structure. 

There were hundreds of cribs, with pink babies squalling, or 
sleeping, or feeding. Then there were playrooms for the crawlers, 

‘They’re not too bad even at this age,’ said Klorissa grudg- 
ingly, ‘though they take up a tremendous sum of robots. It’s 
practically a robot per baby till walldng age,’ 

‘Why 18 that?’ 

‘They sicken if they don’t get individual attention.’ 

Baley nodded. ‘Yes. I suppose the requirement for affection is 
something that can’t be done away with.’ 

Klorissa frowned and said brusquely, ‘Babies require atten- 
tion.’ 

Baley said, ‘I am a little surprised drat robots can fulfil the 
need for affection.’ 

She whirled towards him, the distance between them not suffic- 
ing to hide her displeasure. ‘See here, Baley, if you’re trying to 
shock me by using unpleasant terms, you won’t succeed. Skies 
above, don’t be childish.’ 

‘Shock you?’ 

*I can use the word too. Affection 1 Do you want a short word, a 
good four-letter word. I can say that, too. Love! Love! Now if 
it’s out of your system, behave yourself.’ 

Bal^ did not trouble to dispute the matter of obscenity. He 
said, ‘Can robots really give the necessary attention, then?* 

‘Obviously, or this farm would not be the success it is. They 
fool with the child. They nuzzle it and snuggle it. The child 

l-jo 



A TARGET IS MISSED 

doesn’t care that it’s only a robot. But then, things grow more 
diflScult between three and ten.’ 

‘Oh?’ 

‘During that interval, the children insist on playing with one 
another. Quite indiscriminately.’ 

‘I take it you let them.’ 

‘We have to, but we never forget our obligations to teach them 
the requirements of adulthood. Each has a separate room that can 
be closed off. Even from the first, they must sleep alone. We 
insist on that. And then we have an isolation time every day and 
that increases with the years. By the time a child reaches ten, he 
is able to restrict himself to viewing for a week at a time. Of 
course, the viewing arrangements are elaborate. They can view 
outdoors, under mobile conditions, and keep it up all day.’ 

Baley said, ‘I’m surprised you can counter an instinct so 
thoroughly. You do counter it; I see that. Still, it surprises me.’ 

‘What instinct?* demanded Klorissa. 

‘The instinct of gregariousness. There is one. You say yourself 
that as children they insist on playing with each other.’ 

Klorissa smiled. ‘Do you call mat instinct? But then, what if it 
is? Skies above, a child has an instinctive fear of falling, but 
adults can be trained to work in high places even where there is 
constant danger of falling. Haven’t you ever seen gymnastic ex- 
hibitions on high wires? There are some worlds where people live 
in tall buildings. And children have instinctive fear of loud 
noises, but are you afraid of them?’ 

‘Not within reason,’ said Baley. 

‘I’m willing to bet that Earth people couldn’t sleep if things 
were really quiet. Skies above, there isn’t an instinct around that 
can’t give way to a good, persistent education. Not in human 
beings, where instincts are weak, anyway. Ex fact, if you go about 
it right, education gets easier with each generation. It’s a matter 
of evolution.’ 

Baley said, ‘How is that?’ 

‘Don’t you see? Each individual repeats bis own evolutionary 
history as he develops. Those foetuses back there have gills and a 
tail for a dme. Can’t sMo those steps. The youngster had to go 
through the social animal stage in the same way. But just as a 
foetus can get through in one month a stage that evolution took a 
hundred rnillion years to get through, so our children can hurry 

129 



THE NAKED SUN 


through the social-anitaal stage. Dr Delmarrc was of the opinion 
that with the generations, we’d get through that stage faster and 
faster.’ 

‘Is that so?’ 

‘In three thousand years, he estimated, at the present rate of 
progress, we’d have children who’d take to viewing at once. The 
boss had other notions, too. He was interested in improving 
robots to the point of making them capable of disciplining chil- 
dren without becoming mentally unstable. Why not? Discipline 
today for a better life tomorrow is a true expression of First Law 
if robots could only be made to see it.’ 

‘Have such robots been developed yet?’ 

Klorissa shook her head. I’m afraid not. Dr Delmarrc and 
Lecbig had been working hard on some experimental models.’ 

‘Did Dr Delmarre have some of the models sent out to his 
estate? Was he a good enough roboticist to conduct tests him- 
self?’ 

‘Oh, yes. He tested robots frequently.’ 

‘Do you know that he had a robot with him when he was 
murdered?’ 

‘I’ve been told so.’ 

‘Do you know what kind of a model it was?’ 

‘You’ll have to ask Leebig. As I told you, he’s the roboticist 
who worked with Dr Delmarre.’ 

‘You know nothing about it?’ 

‘Not a thing,’ 

‘If you think of anything, let me Imow.’ 

‘I will And don’t think new robot models are all that Dr 
Delmarre was interested in. Dr Delmarre used to say the time 
would come when unfertilised ova would be stored in banks at 
liquid-air temperatures and utilised for artificial insemination. In 
that way, eugenic principles couM be truly applied and we could 
get rid of the last vestige of any need for seeing. I’m not sure that 
I quite go along with him so far, but he was a man of advanced 
notions; a very good Solarian.’ 

She wided quickly, ‘Do you want to go outside? The five to 
eight group are encouraged to take part in outdoor play and you 
could see them in action.’ 

Baley said cautiously, ‘I’ll try that. I may have to come back 
inside at rather short notice.’ 


1^0 



A TARGET IS MISSED 


‘Ob, yes. I forgot. Maybe you’d rather not go out at all?’ 

‘No,’ Baley forced a smile. ‘I’m trying to grow accustomed to 
the outdoors.’ 

The wind was hard to bear. It made breathing difEicult. It 
wasn’t coldj in a direct physical sense, but the feel of it, the feel 
of his clothes moving against his body, gave Baley a kind of 
chill. 

His teeth chattered when he tried to talk and he had to force 
his words out in little bits. It hurt his eyes to look so far at a 
horizon so hazy green and blue and there was only limited relief 
when he looked at the pathway immediately b^ore his toes. 
Above all, he avoided looking up at the empty blue, empty, that 
is, but for the piled-up white of occasional clouds and the glare of 
the naked sun. 

And yet he could fight off the urge to run, to return to en- 
closure. 

He passed a tree, following Klorissa by some ten paces, and he 
reached out a cautious hand to touch it. It was rough and hard to 
the touch. Frondy leaves moved and rustled overhead, but he did 
not raise his eyes to look at them. A living tree I 

Klorissa called out, ‘How do you feel?’ 

‘All right.’ 

‘You can see a group of youngsters from here,’ she said. 
‘They’re involved in some Idnd of game. The robots organise the 
games and see to it that, the little animals don’t kick each other’s 
eyes out. With personal presence you can do just that, you loiow.’ 

Baley raised his eyes slowly, running his glance along the 
cement of the pathway out tb the grass and down the slope, 
farther and farther out — very carefully — ^ready to snap back to tiis 
toes if he grew frightened— feeling with his eyes . . . 

There were the small figures of boys and girls racing madly 
about, uncaring that they raced at the veiy outer rim of a world 
with nothing but air and space above them. The glitter of an 
occasional robot moved nimbly among them. The noise of the 
children was a far-off incoherent squeaking in the ah. 

‘They love it,’ said Klorissa. ‘Pushing and pulling and squab- 
bh'ng and falling down and getting up and fust generally contact- 
mg. Skies above 1 How do children ever manage to grow up?’ 

‘What are those older children doing?’ asked Baley. He 

131 



THE NAKED SUN 


pointed at a group of isolated youngsters standing to one side, 
They’re viewing. They’re not in a state of personal presence. 
By viewing, they can walk togedier, talk togemer, race together, 
play together. Anything except physical contact.’ 

‘Where do children go when they leave here?’ 

‘To estates of their own. The number of deaths is, on the 
average, equal to the number of graduations.’ 

‘To their parents’ estates?’ 

‘Skies above, no! It would be an amazing coincidence, 
wouldn’t it, to have a parent die just as a child is of age. No, the 
children take any one that falls vacant. I don’t know that any of 
thetq would be particularly happy, anyway, living in a mansion 
that once belonged to their parents, supposing, of course, they 
knew who their parents were.’ 

‘Don’t they?’ 

She raised her eyebrows. ‘Why should tlicy?’ 

‘Don’t patents visit tlieir children here?’ 

‘What a mind you have. Why should they want to?’ 

Baley said, ‘Do you mind if I clear up a point for myself? Is it 
bad manners to ask a person if they have had children?’ 

‘It’s an intimate question, wouldn’t you say?’ 

‘In a way.’ 

‘I’m hardened. Children are my business. Other people aren’t.’ 
Baley said, ‘Have you any chiloren?* 

Klorissa’s Adam’s apple made a soft but clearly visible motion 
In her throat as she swallowed. ‘1 deserve that, 1 suppose. And 
you deserve an answer. I haven’t.’ 

*Are you married?’ 

‘Yes, and I have an estate of my own and I would be there but 
for the emergency here. I’m just not confident of being able to 
control all the robots if I’m not here in person.’ 

She turned away unhappily, and then pointed. ‘Now there’s 
one of the children gone tumbling and of course he’s crying.’ 

A robot was running with great space-devouring strides. 
Klorissa said, ‘He’ll be picked up and cuddled and if there’s 
any real damage. I’ll be called in.’ She added nervously, ‘I hope I 
don’t have to be.’ 

Baley took a deep breath. He noted three trees forming a small 
triangle fifty feet to the left. He walked in that direction, the 
grass soft and loathsome under his shoes, disgusting in its soft- 

132 



A TARGET IS MISSED 

ness. It was like walking through corrupting flesh, and he nearly 
retched at the thought. 

He was among them, his back against one trunk. It was almost 
like being surrounded by imperfected walls. The sun was only a 
wavering series of glitters through the leaves, so disconnected as 
almost to be robbed of horror. 

Klorissa faced him from the path, then slowly shortened the 
distance by half. 

‘Mind if I stay here awhile?’ asked Baley. 

‘Go ahead 1 ’ said Klorissa. 

Baley said, ‘Once the youngsters graduate out of the farm, how 
do you get them to court one another?’ 

‘Court?’ 

‘Get to. know one another,’ said Baley, vaguely wondering how 
the thought could be expressed safely, ‘so that they can marry.’ 

‘That’s not their problem,’ said iQorissa. ‘They’re matched by 
gene analysis, usually when they are' quite young. That’s the 
sensible way, isn’t it?’ 

‘Are they always willing?’ 

‘To be married? They never are. It’s a very traumatic process. 
At first they have to grow accustomed to one another, and a little 
bit of seeing each day, once the initial queasiness is gone, can do 
wonders.’ 

‘What if they just don’t like their partner?’ 

‘What? If the gene analysis indicates a partnership what 
difference does it ’ 

‘I understand,’ said Baley hastily. He thought of Earth and 
sighed. 

Klorissa said, ‘Is there anything else you would like to know?’ 

Baley wondered if there were anything to be gained from a 
longer stay. He would not be sorry to be done with Klorissa and 
fcetal engineering’ so that he might pass on to the next stage. 

He had opened his mouth to say as much, when Klorissa called 
out at some far off, ‘You, child, you there ! What are you doing?’ 
Then, over her shoulder: ‘Earthmanl Baley! Watch outl Watch 
outV 

Baley scarcely heard her. He responded to the note of urgency 
in her voice. The nervous effort that held his emotions taut 
snapped wide and he flamed into panic. All the terror of the open 
air and the endless vault of heaven broke in upon him. 

133 



THE NAKED SUN 


Baley gibbered. He heard himself mouth meaningless sounds 
and felt himself fall to his knees and slowly roll over to his side as 
diough he were watching the process from a distance, 

a£o from a distance he heard die sighing hum piercing the air 
from above him and ending vnth a sliarp diwack, 

Baley closed his eyes and his fingers clutched a tliin tree root 
that skkimed the surface of the ground and his nails burrowed 
into dirt. 

He opened his eyes (it must only have been moments after). 
Klorissa was scolding sharply a youngster who remained at a 
distance. A robot, silent, stood doser to Klorissa. Baley had only 
time to notice the youngster held a stringed object in his hand 
before his eyes sheered away. 

Breathing heavily, Baley struggled to his feet, He stared at the 
shaft of glistening metal that remained in the trunk of the tree 
against which he had been standing. He pulled at it and it came 
out readily. It had not penetrated far. He looked at the point but 
did not touch it. It was blunted, but it would have sufficed to tear 
his skin had he not dropped when he did. 

It took him two tries to get his legs moving. He look a step 
towards Klorissa and called, ‘You! Youngster!’ 

Klorissa turned, her face flushed. She said, ‘It was an accident. 
Ate you hurt?’ 

‘No ! What is this thing?’ 

’It’s an arrow. It is fired by a bow, which makes a taut string 
do the work.’ 

‘Like this,’ called the youngster impudently, and he shot 
another arrow into the air, then burst out laughing. He had light 
hair and a lithe body. 

Klorissa said, ‘You will be disciplined. Now leave!’ 

‘Wait, wait 1 ’ cried Baley. He rubbed his knee where a rock had 
caught and bruised him as he had fallen. ‘I have some questions. 
What is your name?’ 

‘Bik,’ he said carelessly. 

‘Did you shoot that arrow at me, Bik?’ 

‘That’s ri^t.’ 

‘Do you realise you would have hit me if I hadn’t been warned 
in time to duck?’ 

Bik shrugged his shoulders. 'I was aiming to hit.’ 

134 



A TARGET IS MISSED 

Klorissa spoke hurriedly. ‘You must let me explain. Archery is 
an encouraged sport. It is comixiiiiivc without requiring contact, 
We have conte.sts among the boys using viewing only. Now Ftn 
afraid some of tlte boys will aim at robots. It amuses them and it 
doesn't hurt the robots. I’m the only adult human on the estate 
and when the boy siiw you, he must have assumed you were a 
robot.* 

Baley listened. His mind was clearing, and the natural dour- 
ness of his long face intensified. He said, ‘Bik, did you think I 
was a robot?’ 

‘No,’ said the youngster. ‘You’re an Eartltman.’ 

‘AH right. Go now!’ 

Bik turned and meed off whistling. Baley turned to the robot. 
‘You I How did the youngster know I was an Earthman, or 
weren’t you with him when he shot?’ 

*1 was with him, tna-ster. I told him you were an Earthman.’ 

‘Did you tell him what an Eartltman was?’ 

‘Yes, master.’ 

‘What is an Earthman?’ 

‘An inferior .sort of Iniman dtat ought not to be allowed o» 
Solaria because he breeds disease, master.’ 

‘And who told you that, boy?’ 

The robot maintained silence. 

Baley said, ‘Do you know who told you?’ 

‘I do not, master. It is in my memory store.’ 

‘So you told the boy I was a discasc»broeding inferior and he 
immediately shot at me. Why didn’t you stop him?’ 

‘I would have, master. I would not have allowed harm to come 
to a human, even an Earthman. He moved too quickly and I was 
not fast enough.’ 

‘Perhaps you thought I was just an Earthman, not completely a 
human, and hesitated a bit.’ 

‘No, master.’ 

It was said with quiet calm, but Baley’s lips quirked grimly. 
The robot might deny it In all faith, but Baley felt that was 
exactly the factor involved. 

Baley said, ‘What were you doing with the boy?* 

‘I was carrying his arrows, master.’ 

‘May I see them?’ 

He held out his hand. The robot approached and delivered a 

135 



THE NAKED SUN 


dozen of them. Baley put the original arrow, the one that had hit 
the tree, carefully at his feet, and looked the others over one by 
one. He handed ^cm back and lifted the original arrow apin. 

He said, ‘Why did you give this particular arrow to the boy?’ 

‘No reason, master. He had asked for an arrow some time 
earlier and this was the one my hand touched first. He looked 
about for a target, then noticed you and asked who the strange 
human was. I explained 

‘I know what you explained. This arrow you handed him is the 
only one with grey vanes at the rear. The others have black vanes.’ 

The robot simply stared. 

Baley said, ‘Did you guide the youngster here?’ 

'We walked at random, master.’ 

The Earthman looked through the gap between two trees 
through which the arrow had hurled itself towards its mark. He 
said, ‘Would it happen, by any chance, that this youngster, Bik, 
was the best archer you have here?’ 

The robot bent his head. ‘He is tlic best, master.’ 

Klorissa gaped. ‘How did you ever come to guess that?’ 

‘It follows,’ said Baley dryly. ‘Now please observe this grey- 
vaned arrow and the others. The grey-vaned arrow is the only 
one that seems Oily at the point. I’U risk melodrama, ma’am, by 
saying that your warning saved my life. This arrow that missed 
me is poisoned.’ 


136 



CHAPTER THIRTEEN 


A ROBOTICIST IS CONFRONTED 

Klorissa said, ‘Impossible! Skies above, absolutely impossible!’ 

‘Above or below or any way you wish it. Is tliere an animal on 
the farm that’s expendable? Get it and scratch it witlt the arrow 
and see what happens.’ 

‘But why should anyone want to * 

Baley said harshly, ‘I know why. The question is, who?’ 

‘No one.’ 

Baley felt the dizziness returning and he grew savage. He 
threw the arrow at her and she eyed the spot where it fell. 

‘Pick it up,’ Baley cried, ‘and if you don’t want to test it, 
destroy it! Leave it there and you’ll have an accident if the cbil* 
drengetatit!’ 

She picked it up hurriedly, holding it between foreiSnger and 
thumb, 

Baley ran for the nearest entrance to the building and Klorissa 
was still holding the arrow, gingerly, when site followed him back 
indoors. 

Beley felt a certain measure of equanimity return with the 
comfort of enclosure. He said, ‘Who poisoned the arrow?* 

‘I can’t imagine.’ 

*I suppose it isn’t likely the boy did it himself. Would you have 
any way of telling who his parents were?’ 

‘We could check the records,’ said Klorissa gloomily, 

‘Then you do keep records of relationships?’. 

‘We have to for gene analysis.’ 

'Would the youngster know who his parents were?’ 

‘Never,’ said Klorissa energetically, 

‘Would he have any way or finding out?’ 

‘He would have to break into the records room. Impossible.’ 

‘Suppose an adult visited the estate and wanted to know who 
his child was ’ 

Klorissa Hushed. ‘Very unlikely.* 

137 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘But suppose. Would he be told if he were to ask?’ 

‘I don’t know. It isn’t exactly illegal for him to know. It cer- 
tainly isn’t customary.’ 

‘would you tell him?’ 

‘I’d try not to. I know Dr Dclmarre wouldn’t have. He be- 
lieved knowledge of relationship was for gene analysis only. 
Before him things may have been looser. . . . Why do you ask all 
thisj anyway?’ 

‘I don’t see how tlic youngster could have a motive on his own 
account. 1 thought that through his parents he might have.’ 

‘This is all horrible.’ In her disturbed state of mind Klorissa 
approached more closely than at any previous time. She even 
stretched out an arm in his direction. ‘IIow can it' all be happen- 
ing? The boss killed : you nearly killed. Wc have no motives for 
violence on Solaria. We all hgve all wc can want, so there is no 
personal ambition. Wc have no knowledge of relntioaship, so 
there is no family ambition. We are all in good genic health.’ 

Her face cleared all at once. ‘Wait! This arrow can’t be 
poisoned. I shouldn’t let you convince me it is.’ 

‘Why have you suddenly decided that?’ 

‘The robot wltli Bik. He would never have allowed poison. It’s 
inconceivable that he could have done anything that might bring 
harm to a human being. The First Law of Robotics makes sure m 
that.’ 

Baley said, ‘Docs it? What is the First Law, I wonder?’ . 

Klorissa stared blankly. ‘What do you mean?’ 

‘Nothing. You have the arrow tested and you will find it 
poisoned.’ Baley himself was scarcely interested in the matter. He 
imew it for poison beyond any internal questionings. He said, ‘Do 
you still believe Mrs Dclmarre to have been guilty of her hus- 
band’s death?’ 

‘She was the only one present’ 

‘I see. And you are the only other human adult present on this 
estate at a time when I have just been shot at with a poisoned 
arrow.’ 

She cried energetically, ‘I had notliing to do with it.’ 

‘Perhaps not And perhaps Mrs Dclmarre is innocent as wdl. 
May I use your viewing apparatus?’ 

‘Yes, of course.’ 


138 ‘ 



A ROBOTICIST IS CONFRONTED 

Baley knew exactly whom he intended to view and it was not 
Gladia. It came as a surprise to himself then to hear his voice say, 
‘Get Gladia Dclinarre.’ 

The robot obeyed without comment, and Baley watched the 
fflanipulations wiUi astonishment, wondering why he had given 
the order. 

Was it that the girl had |ust been the subject of discussion, or 
was it that ho had been a little disturbed over the manner of the 
end of their last viewing, or was it simply the sight of the husky, 
almost ovcrpoweringly practical figure of Klorissa that finally en- 
forced the necessity of a glimpse of Gladia as a kind of counter- 
irritant? 

He thought defensively : ‘Jehoshaphat 1 Sometimes a man has 
to play things by car.’ 

She was there before him all at once, sitting in a large, up- 
right chair that made her appear smaller and more defenceless 
than ever. Her hair was drawn back and bound into a loose coil. 
She wore pendant ear-rings bearing gems that looked like 
diamonds. Her dress was a simple affair mat clung tightly at the 
waist. . 

She saidTn a low voice, T’m glad you viewed, Elijah, I’ve been 
trying to reach you.* 

‘Good morning, Gladia.’ Afternoon? Evening? He didn’t know 
Gladia’s time and he couldn’t tell from the manner in which she 
was dressed what time it might be. ‘Why have you been trying to 
reach me?^ 

‘To teU you I was soriy I had lost my temper last time we 
viewed. Mr Ollvaw didn’t know where you were to be reached.’ 

Baley had a momentary vision of Daneel still bound fast by the 
overseeing robots and almost smiled. He said, ‘That’s all right. In 
a few hours, I’ll be seeing you.’ 

‘Of course, if— seeing me?’ 

'Personal presence,’ said Baley gravely. 

Her eye,s grew wide and her fin^rs dug into the smooth plastic 
of the chair arras. ‘Is tiicre any reason for that?’ 

‘It fe necessary.’ 

‘I don’t think: ’ 

‘Would you allow it?’ 

She looked away. ‘Is it absolutely necessary?’ 

‘It is. First, though, there is someone else I must see. Your 

139 



TUB NAKED SUN 


husband vt&s interested in robots. You told me thatu and I have 
heard it from other sources, but he wasn’t a roboticist, was he?’ 

‘That wasn’t his training, Elijah.’ She still avoided his eyes. 

‘But he worked with a roboticist, didn’t he?’ 

‘Jothan Lcebig,’ she said at once. ‘He’s a good friend of mine.’ 

‘He is?’ said Bnley energetically. 

Gladia looked startled, ‘Shouldn’t I have said that?’ 

‘Why not, if it’s the truth?’ 

‘I’m always afraid that I’ll say things that will make me seem 

is though You don’t know what it’s like when everyone is 

sure you’ve done something.’ 

‘Take it easy. How is it that Lcebig is a friend of youts?’ 

‘Oh, I don’t Imow. He’s in the next estate, for one thing. View- 
ing energy is just about nil, so we can just view all the time in 
free motion with hardly any trouble. We go on walks together all 
the time; or we did, anyway.’ 

‘I didn’t Imow you could go on walks together with anyone.’ 

Gladia flushed. ‘I said viewing. Oh, well, I keep forgetting 
you’re an Earthman. Viewing in free motion means we focus on 
ourselves and we can go anywhere we want to without losing 
contact. I walk on my estate and he walks on his and we’re to- 
gether.’ She held her chin high. ‘It can be pleasant,’ 

Then, suddenly, she giggled. ‘Poor Jothan.’ 

‘Why do jrou say that?’ 

*I was thinking of you thinking wo walked together without 
viewing. He’d die if he thought anyone could think that,’ 

‘Why?’ 

‘He’s terrible that way. He told me that when be was five years 
old he stopped seeing people. Insisted on viewing only. Some 
children are like that. Kikaine’ — she paused in confusion, then 
went on-— ‘Rikaine, my husband, once told me, when I talked 
about Jothan, that more and more children would be like that too. 
He said it was a kind of social evolution that favoured survival of 
pro-viewing. Do you think that’s so?’ 

‘I’m no authority,’ said Baley. 

‘Jothan won’t even get married. Rikaine was angry with him, 
told him he was anti-social and that he had genes that were neces- 
sary in fire common pool, but Jothan just refused to consider 
it’ 

‘Has he a ri^t to refuse?’ 


140 



A ROBOTICIST IS CONFRONTED 

‘No-Oj’ said Gladia hesitantly. ‘But he’s a very brilliant robot- 
icist, you know, and roboticists arc valuable on Solaria. I suppose 
they stretched a point. Except, I think Rikaine was going to stop 
working with Jothan. He told me once Jotlian was a bad Solarian.’ 

‘Did he tell Jothan that?’ 

‘I don’t know. He was working with Jothan to the end.’ 

‘But he thought Jodian was a bad Solarian for refusing to 
marry?’ 

‘Rikaine once said that marriage was the hardest thing in life, 
but that it had to be endured.* 

‘What did you think?’ 

‘About what, Elijah?’ 

‘About marriage. Did you think it was the hardest thing In 
life?’ 

Her expression grew slowly blank as though she were pains- 
takingly washing emotion out of it She said, ‘I never thought 
about it.’ 

Balcy said, ‘You said that you go for walks with Jothan Leebig 
all the time, then corrected yourself and put that in the past You 
don’t go for walks with him any more, then?’ 

Gladia shook her head. Expression was back in her face. Sad- 
ness. ‘No. We don’t seem to. I viewed him once or twice. He 
always seemed busy,’ 

‘was this since the death of your husband?’ 

‘No, even some time before. Several months before,* 

‘Do you suppose Dr Delmarre ordered him not to pay further 
attention to you?’ 

Gladia looked startled. “Why should he? Jothan isn’t a robot 
and neither am I. How can we take orders and why should 
Rikaine give them?’ 

Baley did not bother to try to explain. He could have done so 
only in Barth terms and that would make things no clearer to her, ' 
And if it did manage to clarify, the result could only be disgus^ 
ing to her. 

Baley said, ‘Only a question. I’ll view you again, Gladia, when 
I’m done with Leebig, What time do you have, by the way?’ He 
was sorry at once for asking the question. Robots would answer in 
Terrestrial equivalents, but Gladia might answer in Solarian 
units and Baley was weary of displaying l^orance. 

But Gladia answered in purely qualitative terms. ‘Mid-after- 

141 



THE NAKED SUN 


noon,’ she said. 

‘Then that’s it for Leebig’s estate also?’ 

*Oh, yes.’ 

‘Good. I’ll view you again as soon as I can and we’ll mate 
arrangements for scchig.’ 

Again she grew hesitant. ‘It is absolutely necessary?’ 

‘It is.’ 

She said in a low voice, *Vory well.’ 

There was some delay in contacting Leebig and Balcy utilis^ 
it in consuming another sandwich, one that was brought to him in 
its original packaging. But he had grown more cautious. He in- 
spected die seal carefully before breaking it, then looked over the 
contents painstakingly. 

He accepted a plastic container of milk, not quite unfrozen, bit 
an opening with his own teeth, and drank from it dticctly. Ho 
thought gloomily that there were such things as odourless, taste- 
less, slow-acting poisons that could be introduced delicately by 
means of hypodermic needles or high-pressure needle jets, then 
put the thought aside as h .»g childish. 

So far muraers and attempted murders had been committed in 
the most dixcct possible fashion. There was nothing delicate or 
subtle about a blow on the head, enough poison in a gloss to lull a 
dozen men, or a poisoned arrow shot openly at tltc victim. 

And then he thought, scarcely less gloomily, that as long as he 
hopped between time zones in t^s fashion, he was scarcely likely 
to have regular meals. Or, if this continued, regular sleep. 

The robot approached him. ‘Dr Leebig directs you to call some 
time tomorrow. He is engaged in important work.’ 

Baley bounced to his feet and roared. ‘You tell that guy ’ 

He stopped. There was no use yelling at a robot. That is, you 
could yell if you wished, but it would achieve results no sooner 
than a whisper. 

He said m a conversational tone, ‘You tell Dr Leebig, or his 
robot if that is as far as you’ve reached, tliat I am investigating 
the murder of a professional associate of his and a good Solarian. 
You tell him that I cannot wait on his work. You tell him that if I 
am not viewing him in five minutes, I will be in a plane and at his 
estate seeing him In less than an hour. You use the word, seeing, 
so there’s no mistake.’ 


142 



A ROnOTICrST IS COKFRONTED 

He returned to his sandwich. 

The five minutes were not quite gone, when Leebig, or at least 
a Solarian whom Balcjr presumed to be Leebig, was glarhig at 
him. 

Balcy glared back. Leebig was a lean man, who held himself 
rigidly erect. His dark, prominent eyes had a look of intense 
abstraction about them, compounded now with anger. One of his 
eyelids drooped slightly. 

He said, ‘Are you the Earthman?’ 

‘Elijalt Balcy,’ said Baley, ‘Plaincloihcsman C-7, in charge of 
the investigation into the murder of Dr Rikainc Dclmarrc. what 
is your name?’ 

‘I’m Dr Jothon Leebig. Why do you presume to annoy me at 
my work?’ 

‘It’s easy,’ said Balcy quietly. ‘It’s my business.’ 

‘Then take your business elsewhere 1’ 

‘I have a few questions to ask first. Doctor. I believe you were 
a close associate of Dr Dclmarrc. Right?* 

One of Leebig’s hands clenched suddenly into a fist and he 
strode hastily towards a mantelpiece on which tiny clockwork 
contraptions went through complicated periodic motions that 
caught hjrpnoticoUy at the eye. 

The viewer kept focused on Leebig so that his figure did not 
depart from central projection as he walked. Rather the room 
behind him seemed to move backwards in little rises and dips as 
he strode. 

Leebig said, 'If you ate the foreigner whom Gruer threatened 
to bring in ’ 

‘I am.’ 

‘Then you are here against ray advice. Done viewing?’ 

‘Not yet. Don’t break contact.’ Baley raised his voice sharply 
and a finger as well. He pointed it dir^y at the roboticist, who 
shrank visibly away from it, full lips spreading into an catpression 
of disgust. 

Balcy said, ‘I wasn’t bluffing about seeing you, you know.’ 

‘No Earthman vulgarity, please,’ 

*A straightforward statement is what it is intended to be. I wUl 
see you, if I can’t ihake you listen any other way, I will grab you 
by the collar and make you listen,’ 

Leebig stared back. ‘You are a filthy animal .* 

143 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘Have it your way, but I will do as I say.’ 

‘If you try to invade t«y estate, I will — will ’ 

Baley lifted his eyebrows. ‘Kill me? Do you often make such 
threats?’ 

‘I made no threat.’ 

‘Then talk now. In the time you have wasted, a good deal 
might have been accomplished. You were a close associate of Dt 
Delmarrc. Right?’ 

The roboticist’s head lowered. His shoulders moved slijghtly to 
a slow, regular breathing. When he looked up, he was m com- 
mand of himself. He even managed a brief, sapless smile, 

‘I was.’ 

‘Dclmaire was interested in new types of robots, I understand.’ 

‘He was.’ 

‘What kind?’ 

‘Are you a roboticist?’ 

‘No. Explain it for the layman.’ 

*I doubt that I can.’ 

‘Try 1 For instance, I think he wanted robots capable of dis- 
ciplining children. What would that involve?’ 

Lecbig raised his eyebrows briefly and said, ‘To put it very 
simply, skipping all the subtle details, it means a strengthening of 
the C-integral governing the Sikorovich tandem route response at 
the W-65 level.’ ’ 

‘Double-talk,’ said Baley. 

‘The truth.’ 

‘It’s double-talk to me. How else can you put it?’ 

‘It means a certain vreakening of the First Law.’ 

‘Why so? A child is disciplined for its ovyn future good, ten’t 
that the theory?’ 

‘Ah, the future goodl’ Leebig’s eyes gjowed with passion and 
he seemed to grow less conscious of his listener and correspond- 
ingly more talkative. ‘A simple concent, you think. How many 
human beings are willing to accept a trifling inconvenience for the 
sake of a large future good? How long does it take to train a child 
that what tastes good now means a stomach-ache later? Yet you 
want a robot to be able td understand? 

‘Pain inflicted by a robot on a child sets up a powerful dis- 
ruptive potential in the positronic brain. To counteract that by an 
anti-potential triggered through a realisation of future good re- 

144 



A ROBOTICIST IS CONFRONTED 

quires enough padis and bypaths to mcreasc the mass of the posit- 
ronic brain by 50 per cent, unless other circuits arc sacrifice.’ 

Baley said, ‘Then you haven’t succeeded in building such a 
robot.’ 

'No, nor am I likely to succeed. Nor anyone.’ 

‘Was Dr Dclmarrc testing an experimental model of such a 
robot at the time of liis death?’ 

‘Not of such a robot. We arc interested in other more practical 
things also.’ 

Baley said quietly, ‘Dr I.ccbig, I am going to have to learn a 
bit more about robotics and I’m going to ask you to teach me.’ 

Leebig shook his head violently, and his drooping eyelid dip- 
ped further in a ghastly travesty of a wink. ‘It should be obvious 
that a course in robotics takes more than a moment. I lack the 
time.’ 

‘Nevertheless, you must teach me. The smell of robots is the 
one thing that pervades everything on Solaria. If it is time we 
require, then more than ever I must see you. I am an Earthman 
and I cannot work or think contfortably while viewing,’ 

It would not have seemed possible to Baley for Leebig to 
stiffen his stiff carriage further, but he did. He said, ‘Your 
phobias as an Earthman don’t concern me. Seeing is impossible.* 

‘I think you will change your mind when I tell you what I 
chiefly want to consult you about.’ 

‘It will make no difference. Nothing can.’ 

‘No? Then listen to this. It is my belief that throughout the 
history of the tsositronic robot, the First Law of Bobotics has been 
deliberately misquoted.’ 

Leebig moved spasmodically. 'Misquoted? Fool) Madman) 
Why?’ 

‘To hide the fact,’ said Baley with complete composure, ‘that 
robots can commit murder.’ 


145 



CHAPTER FOURTEEN 


A MOTIVE IS REVEALED 

Leebig’s mouth widened slowly. Balcy took it for a snarl at first 
and then, with considerable surprise, decided that it was the most 
unsuccessful attempt at a smile that he had ever seen. 

Leebig said, ‘Don’t say that I Don’t ever say that I ’ 

‘Why not?’ 

‘Because anything, however small, that encourages distrust of 
robots is harmful. Distrusting robots is a human disease* 

It was though he were lecturing a small cliild. It was as though 
he were saying something gently tliat he wanted to yell. It was as 
though he were trying to persuade when what he really wanted 
was to enforce on penalty of death, 

Leebig said, ‘Do you know tiu: history of robotics?’ 

‘A Uttle.’ 

‘On Earth, you should. Yes. Do you know robots started with a 
Frankenstein complex against them? They were suspect. Men 
distrusted and feared robots. Robotics was almost an undercover 
science as a result. The Three Laws were first built into robots in 
an effort to overcome distrust and even so Earth would never 
allow a robotics society to develop. One of the reasons the first 
pioneers left Earth to colonise the rest of the Galaxy was so that 
they might establish societies in which robots would be allowed to 
free men of poverty and toil. Even then, there remained a latent 
suspicion not far below, ready to pop up at any excuse.’ 

‘Have you yourself had to counter distrust of robots?’ asked 
Baley. 

‘Many times,* said Leebig grimly. 

‘Is that why you and other roboticists are willing to distort the 
facts just a little in order to avoid suspicion as much as possible?’ 

‘There is no distortion.’ 

‘For instance, aren’t the Three Laws misquoted?’ 

‘Nor 

‘I can demonstrate that they are, and unless you convince me 

146 



A MOTIVE IS REVEALED 

Otherwise, I will demonstrate it to the whole Galaxy, if I can.* 

‘You’re mad. Whatever argument you may drink you have is 
fallacious, I assure you.’ 

‘Shall we discuss it?’ 

‘If it doe.s not take too long.’ 

‘Face to face? Seeing?’ 

Leebig’s diin face twisted. ‘NoP 

‘Good-bye, Dr Lccbig. Others will listen to me.’ 

‘Wait I Great Galaxy, man, waitl’ 

‘Seeing?’ 

The roboticist's hands wandered upwards, hovered about his 
chin. Slowly a thumb crept into his mouth and remained there, 
He stared, blankly, at Baley. 

Balcy thought; Is he regrc.s.sing to the prc-iive-year-old stage 
so that it will be legitimate for him to see me? 

‘Seeing?’ he said. 

But Lcebig .shook his head slowly. ‘I can’t, I can’t,’ he moaned, 
the words all but stifled by the blocking thumb. ‘Do whatever you 
want.’ 

Balcy stared at the other and watched him turn away and face 
the wall He watched the Solarian’s straight back bend and the 
Solarlan’s face hide in shaking hands. 

Balcy said, ‘Very well, then, PU agree to view.’ 

Lceoig said, back still turned, ‘l&cuse me a moment. I’ll be 
back.’ 

Baley tended to his own needs during the interval and stared at 
his fresh-washed face in the bathroom mirror. Was he getting the 
feel of Solaria and Solarlans? He wasn’t sure. 

He sighed and pushed a contact and a robot appeared. He 
didn’t turn to look at it. He said, 'Is there another viewer at the 
farm, besides the one I’m using?’ 

‘There are three other outlets, master.’ 

‘Then tell Klorissa Cantoro—teU your nalstress that I will be 
using this one till further notice and that I am not to be dis- 
turbed.’ 

‘Yes, master.' 

Baley returned to his position where the viewer remained 
focus^ on the empty patch of room in which Leebig had stood. 

It was still empty and he settled himself to wait. 

147 



THE NAKED SUN 


It wasn’t long. Lecbig entered and the room once more jiggled 
as the man walked. Evidently focus shifted from room centre to 
man centre without delay. Balcy remembered the complexity of 
viewing controls and began to feel a kind of appreciation of what 
was involved. 

Leebig was quite master of himself now, apparently. His hair 
was slicked back and bis costume had been changed. His clothes 
fitted loosely and were of a material that glistened and caught 
highlights. He sat down in a slim chair tliat folded out of the 
wall. 

He said soberly, ‘Now what is tliis notion of yours concerning 
First Law?’ 

‘Can we be overheard?’ 

‘No. I’ve taken care.’ 

Baley nodded. He said, ‘Let me quote dte First Law.’ 

‘I scarcely need that.’ 

*1 know, but let me quote it, anyhow: A robot may not harm a 
human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come 
to harm.’ i' 

*WeU?’ 

‘Now when I first landed on Solaria, I was driven to the estate 
assigned for my use in a ground-car. The ground-car was a 
specially enclosed job designed to protect me from exposure to 
open space. As an Earthman * 

‘I know about that,’ said Leebig impatiently. ‘What has this to 
do with the matter?’ 

‘The robots who drove the car did not know about it. I asked 
that the car be opened and was at once obeyed, They had to 
follow orders. I was uncomfortable, of eburse, and nearly col- 
lapsed before the car was enclosed again. Didn’t the robots harm 
me?’ 

‘At your order,’ snapped Leebig. 

‘I’ll quote the Second Law: A robot must obey the orders 
given it by human being except where such orders would conflict 
with the First Law. So you see, my order should have been 
ignored.’ 

‘This is nonsense. The robot lacked knowledge— — ’ 

Baley leaned forward in his chair. ‘Ah I We have it. Now let’s 
recite the First Law as it should be stated: A robot may do 
nothing that, to its knowledge, will harm a human being; nor, 

148 



A MOTIVE IS REVEALED 

through inaction, knowingly allow a human being to come to 
harm.* 

‘This is all understood.’ 

‘I think not by ordinary men. Otherwise, ordinary men would 
realise that robots could commit murder.* 

Ixebig was white. ‘Mad I Lunacy 1’ 

Baley stared at his linger ends. ‘A robot may perform an in- 
nocent task, I suppo,sc; one that has no damaging effect on a 
human being?’ 

‘If ordered to do so,’ said Lccbig. 

‘Yes, of course. If ordered to do so. And a second robot may 
perform an innocent task, also, I suppose; one that also can have 
no damaging effect on a human being? If ordered to do so?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘And what if the two innocent tasks, each completely innocent, 
completely, amount to murder when added together?’ 

‘what?’ Leebig’s face puckered into a scowl 

‘I want your expert opinion on the matter,’ said Bolcy. ‘I’ll set 
you a hypothetical case. Suppose a man says to a robot, “Place a 
small quantity of this liquid into a glass of milk that you will find 
in such and such a [)lace, The liquid is harnolcss. I wish only to 
know its effect on milk. Once I know the effect, the mixture will 
be poured away. After you have performed, this action, forget 
that you have done sol’” 

Lcebig, still scowling, said nothhtg. 

Baley said, ‘If I had told the robot to add a mysterious liquid 
to milk and then offer it to a man, First Law would force ft to 
ask, “What is the nature of the liquid? Will it harm a man?” 
And if it were assured the liquid was harmless, First Law might 
still make the robot hesitate and refuse to offer the milk. Instead, 
however, it is told the milk will be poured away. First Law is not 
involved. Won’t the robot do as it is told?’ 

Lcebig glared. 

Baley sdd, ‘Now a second robot has poured out the milk in the 
first place and is unaware that the milk has been tampered with. 
In all innocence, it offers the milk to a man and the man dies.’ 

Leebig cried out, ‘No/’ . 

‘Why not? Both actions are innocent in themselves. Only 
together ar^ they murder. Po you deny that that sort of thing can 
ht^pen?’ 

' ' ' 149 


1 



THE NAKED SON 


‘The murderer would be ihc man who gave the order,’ cried 
Lecbig. 

‘If you want to be philosophical, yes. The robots would have 
been the immediate murderers, though, the instruments of 
murder.’ 

‘No man would give such orders.’ 

‘A man would. A man has. It was exactly in this way that the 
murder attempt on Dr Gruer must have been carried tlitough. 
You’ve heard about that, I suppose.’ 

‘On Solaria,’ muttered I-eebig, ‘one hears about everything.’ 

‘Then you ^ow Gruer was poisoned at his diimer tabic before 
the eyes of myself and my partner, Mr Olivaw of Aurora. Can 
you suggest any other way in which the poison might have 
reached him? There was no other human on tlic estate. As a 
Solaiian, you must appreciate that point.’ 

‘I’m not a detective. I have no theories.’ 

‘I’ve presented you with one. I want to know if it is a possible 
one. I want to know if two robots might not perform two separate 
actions, each one innocent in itself, the two together resulting in 
murder. You’re the expert, Dr Lecbig. 1$ it possible?' 

And Lecbig, haunted and harried, said, ‘Yes,’ in a voice so low 
that Balcy scarcely heard him. 

Baley said, ‘Very well, then. So muclt for the First Law.’ 

Leebig stared at Baley and his drooping eyelid winked once or 
twice in a slow tic. His hands, which had been clasped, drew 
apart, though the fingers maintained their clawed shape as though 
each hand still entwined a phantom hand of air. Palms turned 
downwards and rested on mees and only then did the fingers 
relax. 

Baley watched it all in abstraction. 

Leebig said, ‘Theoretically, yea. Theoretically. But don’t dis- 
miss the First Law that easily, Earthman I Robots would have to 
be ordered very cleverly in order to circumvent the First Law.’ 

‘I am only an Earthman,’ said Baley. ‘I know next to nothing 
about robots and my phrasing of the orders was only by way or 
example. A Solarian would be much more subtle and do much 
better. I’m sure of that.’ 

Leebig mi^t not have been listening. He said loudly, ‘If a 
robot can be manipulated into doing harm to a man, it means only 
that we must extend the powers of the positromc brain. One 

150 



A MOTIVE IS REVEALED 

might say wc ought to make tlic human better. That is impos- 
sible, so we will make the robot more foolproof. 

‘We advance continuously. Our robots ace more varied, more 
specialised, more capable, and more unharming than those of a 
century ago. A century hence, wc will have still greater advances. 
Why have a robot manipulate controls when a positmnic brain 
can be built into the controls itself? Thai's specialisation, but we 
can generalise, also. Why not a robot wltli replaceable and inter- 
changeable limbs. Eh? Why not? If we ' 

Balcy interrupted. ‘Arc you the only roboticist on Solaria?' 

‘Don’t be a fool.’ 

‘I only wondered. Dr l>elmarrc was the only — uh— foetal 
engineer, except for an assistant’ 

‘Solaria has over twenty roboticists.’ 

‘Arc you the best?’ 

'I am,’ Lccbig said without self-consciousness. 

'Delraarre worked with you.’ 

‘He did.’ 

Baley said, ‘I understand that he was planning to break the 
partnership towards die end.’ 

‘No sign of it. What gave you the idea?’ 

‘1 understood he disapproved of your bachelorhood.’ 

‘He may have. He was a thorough Solarian. However, it did 
not affect our business rclailouships.’ 

‘To change the subject In addition to developing new model 
robots, do you also manufacture and repair existing types?* 

Lccbig said, ‘Manufacture and rcp& arc largely robot-con- 
ducted. There is a large factory and maintenance shop on my 
estate.’ 

‘Do robots requite much In the way of repair, by the way?’ 

‘Very little.’ 

‘Docs that mean that robot repair is an undeveloped scien^?’ 

‘Not at all.’ Lccbig said that stiffly. 

‘What about the robot that was at the scene of Dr Delmarrc’s 
murder?’ 

Leeblg looked away, and his eyebrows drew together as though 
i painful thought were being barred entrance to fils mind. “It was 
1 complete loss.’ 

‘Really complete? Could it answer any questions at all?’ 

‘None at all. It was absolutely useless. Its positronic brain was 

151 



THE NAKED SUN 


completely short-circuited. Not one pathway was left intact. Con- 
sider! It had witnessed a murder that it had been unable to 
halt ’ 

‘Why was it unable to halt the muder, by the way?’ 

‘Who can tell? Dr Delmarrc was experimenting with that 
robot. I do not know in what mental condition he had left it. He 
might have ordered it, for instance, to susnend all operations 
while he checked one particular circuit element. If someone 
whom neither Dr Delmarre nor the robot suspected of harm were 
suddenly to launch a homicidal attack, there might be a percep- 
tible interval before the robot could use First Law potential to 
overcome Dr Delmarre’s freezing order. The length of the inter- 
val would depend on the nature of the attack and the nature of Dr 
Delmarre’s freezing order. I could invent a dozen other ways of 
explaining why die robot was unable to prevent die murder. 
Being unable to do so was a First Law violation, however, and 
diat was sufficient to blast every positronic pathway in the robot’s 
mind.’ 

‘But if the robot was physically unable to prevent the murder, 
was it responsible? Does the First Law ask impossibilities?’ 

Leebig shrugged his shoulder. ‘The First Law, despite your 
attempts to make little of it, protects humanity with every atom 
of possible force. It albws no excuses. If the First Law is broken, 
the robot is ruined.’ 

‘That is a universal rule, sir?’ 

‘As universal as robots.’ 

Baley said, ‘Then I’ve learned something.’ 

‘Then learn something else I Your theory of murder by a series 
of robotic actions, each innocent in itself, will not help you in die 
case of Dr Delmarre’s death.’ 

‘Why not?’ 

‘The death was not by poisoning, but by bludgeoning. Some- 
thing had to hold the bludgeon, and that had to be a human arm. 
No robot could swing a club and smash a skull’ 

‘Suppose,’ said Baley, ‘a robot were to push an innocent button 
whidi dropped a booby-trap weight on Delmarre’s head,’ 

Leebig smiled sourly. ‘Earthman, I’ve viewed the scene of the 
crime. I’ve heard all the news. The murder was a big thing here 
on Solaria, you know. So 1 know that there was no sign of any 

152 



A MOTIVE IS REVEALED 

machinery at tlic scene of the crime, or of any fallen weight’ 

Bdey said, ‘Or of any blunt instrument, either.’ 

Leebig said scornfully. ‘You’re a detective. Find it.’ 

‘Granting that a robot was not responsible for Dr Dclniarrc’s 
death, who was, then?’ 

‘Everyone knows who was,’ shouted Leebig. ‘His wifel Gla- 
dial’ 

Baley tliought ; At least there’s a unanimity of opinion. 

Aloud he said, ‘And who was the mastermind behind tlie robots 
who poisoned Grucr?’ 

‘I suppose . . .’ Ivccbig tailed off. 

‘You don’t think there are two murderers, do you? If Gladia 
was responsible for one crime, she must also be responsible for 
the second attempt, also.’ 

‘Yes. You must be right.’ His voice gained assurance. ‘No 
doubt of it.’ 

‘No doubt?’ 

‘Nobody else could get close enough to Dr Dclmarrc to kill 
him. He allowed personal presence no more than I did, except 
that he made an exception in favour of his wife, and I make no 
exceptions. The wiser I.’ The roboticist laughed harshly. 

*l believe you knew her,’ said Baley abruptly. 

‘Whom?’ 

‘Her. We are discussing only one "her”, Gladia I’ 

‘Who told you I knew her any more tlian I know anyone else?’ 
demanded Leebig. He put bis hand to his throat. His fingers 
moved slightly and opened the neck-scam of his garment for an 
inch downward leaving more fret^om to breathe. 

‘Gladia herself did. You two went for walks.’ 

‘So? We were neighbours. It is a common thing to do. She 
seemed a pleasant person.’ 

‘You approved of her, then?’, 

. Leebig said, ‘Talking to her was relaxing.’ 

‘What did you talk about?’ 

‘Robotics.’ There was a flavour of surprise about the word as 
though there were wonder that the question could be asked. 

‘And she talked robotics too?’ 

‘She knew nothing about robotics. Ignorant I But she listened. 
She has some sort of field-force rigmarole she plays with; jteld 

153 



THE NAKED SUN 


colouring she calls it, I have no patience with that, but I listened.’ 

‘All this without personal presence?’ 

Lccbig looked revolted and did not answer. 

Baley tried again, ‘Were you attracted to her?’ 

‘What?’ 

‘Did you find her attractive? Physically?’ 

Even Lcebig’s bad eye lifted and his lips quivered. ‘Filthy 
animal,’ he muttered. 

‘Let me put it tliis way, then. When did you cease finding 
Gladia pleasant? You used that word yourself, if you remember,’ 

‘What do you mean?’ 

‘You said you found her pleasant. Now you believe she mur- 
dered her husband. That isn’t the mark of a pleasant person,’ 

‘I was mistaken about her.’ 

‘But you decided you were mistaken before she killed her 
husband, if she did so. You stopped walking with her some time 
before the murder. Why?’ 

Leebig said, ‘Is that important?' 

‘Everything is important till proven otherwise.’ 

‘Look, if you want information from me as a roboticist, ask it, I 
won’t answer personal questions.’ 

Baley said, ‘You were closely associated with both the mur- 
dered man and tlic cliief suspect. Don’t you see tliat personal 
questions are unavoidable? Why did you stop walking with 
Gladia?’ 

Lccbig snapped, ‘There came a time when I ran out of things 
to sayj when I was too busy; when I found no reason to continue 
the t^ks.’ 

‘When you no longer found her pleasant, in other words.’ 

‘All right. Put it so.’ 

‘Why was she no longer pleasant?’ 

Leebig shouted, ‘I have no reason.’ 

Baley ignored lie other’s excitement. ‘You are still someone 
who has teiown Gladia well. What could her motive be?* 

‘Her motive?’ 

‘No one has suggested any motive for the murder. Surely 
Gladia wouldn’t commit murder without a motive,’ 

‘Great G^yl’ Leebig leaned his head back as though to 
laugh, but didn’t. ‘No one told you? Well, perhaps no one 6iew, 
I knew, though. She told me. She told me frequendy.’ 

154 


A MOTIVE IS HEVBAI.ED 
‘Told you what, Dr Lccbig?’ 

•Why, that she quarrelled with her husband. Quatrellcd bit- 
terly and frequently. She hated him, Bartliman, Didn’t anyone 
you that? Didn’t shd tell you?’ 


153 



CHAPTER FIPTEEN 


A PORTRAIT IS COI-OURED 

Baley took it between the eyes and tried not to show it. 

Presumably, living as tiicy did, Solarians considered one 
another’s. private lives to be sacrosanct. Questions concerning 
marriage and children were in bad taste. He supposed tlicn that 
chronic quarrelling could exist between husband and wife and be 
a matter into which curiosity was equally forbidden. 

But even when murder had been committed? Would no one 
commit the social crime of asking the suspect if she quarrelled 
with her husband? Or of mentioning the matter if they happened 
to know of it? 

Well, Lecbig had. 

Baley said, ‘What did the quarrels concern?’ 

‘You had better ask her, 1 think.* 

He better had, thought Baley. He rose stiffly. ‘Thank you, Dr 
Leebig, for your co-operation. I may need your help again later, I 
hope you will keep yourself available.’ 

‘Done viewing,’ said Leebig, and he and the segment of his 
room vanished abruptly. 

For the first time Baley found himself not minding a plane 
flight through open space. Not minding it at all. It was almost as 
though he were in his own clement. 

He wasn’t even dunking of Earth or of Jessie. He had been 
away from Earth only a matter of weeks, yet it might as well have 
been years. He had been on Solaria only the better part of three 
days and yet it seemed for ever. 

How fast could a man adapt to nightmare? 

Or was it Gladia? He would bo seeing her soon, not viewing 
her. Was that what gave him confidence and this odd feeling of 
mixed apprehension and anticipation. 

Would she endure it? he wondered. Or would she slip away 
after a few moments of seeing, begging off as Quemot had done? 

156 



A PORTRAIT IS COLOURED 

She stood at the other end of a long room when he entered. She 
might almost have been an impressionistic representation of her- 
self, she was reduced so to essentials. 

Her lips were faintly red, her eyebrows lightly pencilled, her 
ear-lobes faintly blue, and, except for that, her face was un- 
touched, She looked pale, a little irightcncd, and very young. 

Her brown-blonde hair was drawn back, and her grey- blue eyes 
were somehow shy. Her dress was a blue so dark as to be almost 
black, with a thin white edging curling down each side. She wore 
long sleeves, white gloves, and flat-hcclcd shoes. Not an inch of 
skin showed anywhere but in her face. Even her neck was covered 
by a kind of unobtrusive ruching. 

Baley stopped where he was. ‘Is this close enough, Gladia?’ 

She was breathing with shallow quickness. She said, ‘I had 
forgotten what to expect really. It’s just like viewing, isn’t it? I 
mean, if you don’t think of it as seeing.’ 

Baley said, ‘It’s all quite normal to me.’ 

‘Yes, on Earth.’ She clo.scd her eyes, ‘Sometimes I try to 
imagine it. Just crowd.s of people ever^here. You walk down a 
road, and there are others walldng with you and still others walk- 
ing in the other direction, Dozens ’ 

‘Hundreds,’ said Baley. ‘Did you ever view scenes on Earth in 
a book-film? Or view a novel with an Earth setting?’ 

‘We don’t have many of (hose, but I’ve viewed novels set on 
the other Outer Worlds where seeing goes on all the time. It’s 
different in a novel. It just seems like a multivicw.’ 

‘Do people ever kiss in novels?’ 

She flushed painfully. *I don’t read that kind.’ 

‘Never?’ 

‘Well — there are always a few dirty films around, you know, 
and sometimes, just out of curiosity It’s sickening, really.’ 

‘Is it?’ 

She said with sudden animation, ‘But Earth is so different. So 
many people. When you walk, EUj^, I suppose you even t-touch 
peonle. I mean, by accident.’ 

Baley half smiled. ‘You even knock them down by accident’ 
He thought of the crowds on the Expressways, tugging and shov- 
ing, bounding up and down the strips, and for a moment, in- 
evitably, he fdt a pang of homesickness. 

Gladia said, ‘You don’t have to stay way out there.’ 

' 157 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘Would it be all right if I came closer?’ 

‘I think so. I’ll tSl you when I’d rallier you wouldn’t any 
more.’ 

Stepwise Balcy drew closer, while Gladia watched him, wide- 
eyed. 

She said suddenly, ‘Would you like to see some of my field 
colourings?’ 

Baley was six feet away. He stopped and looked at her. She 
seemed small and fragile. He tried to visualise her, something b 
her hand (what?), swing furiously at the skull of hot husbotri. He 
tried to picture her, mad with rage, homicidal witli hate and 
anger. 

He had to admit it could be done. Even a hundred and five 
pounds of woman could crush a skull if she had the proper 
weapon and were wild enough. And Balcy had knovm mu^ 
deresscs on Earth, who, in repose^, were bunny rabbits. 

He said, ‘What are field colourings, Gladia?’ 

‘An art form,’ she said. 

Baley remembered Leebig’s reference to Gladia’s art. He 
nodded. ‘I’d like to see some.’ 

‘Follow me, then.’ 

Baley maintained a careful six-foot distance between them. At 
that, it was less than a third the distance Klorissa had demanded. 

They entered a room that burst with light. It glowed in every 
comer and every colour. 

Gladia looked pleased, propricury. She looked up at Baley, 
eyes anticipating. 

Baley’s response must have been what she expected, though he 
said nothing. He turned slowly, trying to make out what he saw, 
for it was light only, no material object at all. 

The gobbets of light sat on embracing pedestals. They were 
living geometry, lines and curves of colour, entwined hito a 
coalescing whole yet maintaining distinct identities. No two 
specimens were even remotely alike. 

Baley groped for appropriate words and said, ‘Is it supposed to 
mean anything?’ 

Gladia laughed in her pleasant contralto. ‘It means whatever 
you like it to mean. They’re just light-forms that might make you 
feel angry or happy or curious or whatever I felt when I con- 

1S8 



A PORTRAIT IS COLOURED 

structed one. I could make one for you, a kind of pomait. It might 
not be very good, though, because I would just be improvising 
quickly.’ 

‘Would you? I would be very interested.’ 

‘Ml right,’ she said, and half-tan to a light-figure in one comer, 
passing within inches of him as she did so. She did not seem to 
notice. 

She toudied something on the pedestal of the light-figure and 
the glory above died without a flicker. 

Baley gasped and said, ‘Don’t do that.’ 

‘It’s all right. I was tired of it, anyway. I’ll just fade the others 
temporarily so they don’t distract me.’ She opened a panel along 
one fcaturelc.ss wall and moved a rheostat. The colours faded to 
solnething scarcely visible. 

Baley said, ‘Don’t you have a robot to do this I Closing con- 
tacts?’ 

'Shush, now,’ .she said impatiently. *I don’t keep robots in here. 
This is Mie.’ She looked at him, frowning. ‘I don’t know you well 
enough. That’s the trouble.’ 

She wasn’t looking at the pedestal, but her fingers rested 
lightly on its smooth upper surface. All ten fingers were curved, 
tensed, waiting. 

One finger moved, describing a half curve over smoothness. A 
bar of deep yellow light grew and slanted obliquely across the air 
above. The finger inched backwards a fraction and the light grew 
slightly less deep in shade. 

She looked at it momentarily. ‘I suppose that’s it. A kind of 
strength 'without weight,’ 

‘Jehoshapharl’ said Baley. 

‘Are you offended?’ Her fingers lifted and the yellow slant of 
light remained solitary and stationary. 

‘No, not at all But what Is it? How do you do It?’ 

‘That’s hard to explain,' said Gladia, looking at the pedestal 
thoughtfully, ‘considering I don’t really understand it myself. It’s 
a ktad of optical illusion, I’ve b«n told. We set up force-fields at 
different energy levels. They’re extrusions of hyper-space, really, 
and don’t have the properties of ordinary space at all. Depending 
on the energy level, the human eye sees li^t of different shades. 
The shapes and colours are controlled by the warmth of my 
fingers against appropriate spots on the pedestal. There ate aU 

159 



THE NAKED SUN 


sorts of controls inside each pedestal.' 

‘You mean if I were to put my finger there Baley ad- 

vanced and Gladia made way for him. He put a hesitant fore- 
finger down upon the pedestal and felt a soft throbbing. 

‘Go ahead. Move your finger, Elijah,’ said Gladia. 

Baley did so and a dirty-grey jag of light lifted upwards skew- 
ing the yellow light. Baley withdrew hi.s finger sharply and 
Gladia laughed and then was instantly contrite. 

‘I shouldn’t laugh,’ she said. ‘It’s really very hard to do, even 
for people who’ve tried a long time.’ Her own hand moved lighdy 
and too quickly for Baley to follow and the monstrosity he had set 
up disappeared, leaving the yellow light in isolation again. 

‘How did you learn to do tiiis^’ asked Baley, 

‘1 just kept on trying. It’s a new art form, you know, and only 
one or two really know how ’ 

‘And you’re the best,’ said Baley sombrely. ‘On Solaria every- 
one is eimer the only or the best or both.’ 

‘You needn’t laugh. I’ve had some of my pedestals on display. 
I’ve given shows.’ Her chin lifted. There was no mistaking her 
pride. 

She continued, ‘Let me go on with your portrait.’ Her fingers 
moved again. 

There were few curves in the light-form that grew under her 
ministrations. It was all sharp angles. And the dominant colour 
was blue, 

‘That’s Emih, somehow,’ said Gladia, biting her lower lii). ‘I 
always thinKof Earth as blue. All those people and seeing, seeing, 
seeing. Viewing is more rose. How docs it seem to you?’ 

‘Jehoshaphat, I can’t picture things as colours 1’ 

‘Can’t you?’ she asked abstractedly. ‘Now you say “Jehosha- 
phat” sometimes and that’s just a litde blob of violet. A little 
sharp blob because it usually comes out ping, like that.’ And the 
little blob was there, glowing just off centte. 

‘And then,’ she said, ‘I can finish it like this.’ And a flat, lustre- 
less hollow cube of slate grey sprang up to enclose everything. 
The light within shone througn it, but dimmer; imprisoned, 
somehow. 

Baley felt a sadness at it, as though it were something enclosing 
him, keeping him from something he wanted. He said, ‘What’s 
,that last?^ 


160 



A PORTRAIT IS COLOURED 

Gladia said, 'Why, the walls about you. That’s what’s most in 
you, the way you can’t go outside, the way you have to be inside. 
You are inside there. Don’t you see?’ 

Balcy saw and .somehow he disapproved. He said, ‘Those walls 
aren’t permanent. I’ve been out today.’ 

‘You liave? Did you mind?’ 

He could not resist a counterdig. ‘The way you mind seeing 
me. You don’t like it but you can stand it.’ 

She looked at him thoughtfully. ‘Do you want to come out 
now? With me? For a walk?’ 

It was Haley’s impulse to say: Jehoshnphat, no I 
She said, I’ve never walked with anyone, seeing. It’s still day- 
time, and it’s pleasant weather.’ 

Baley looked at his abstractionist portrait and said, ‘If I go, 
will you take away the grey?’ 

She smiled and said, ‘I’ll sec how you behave.* 

The structure of light remained as they left the room. It stayed 
behind, holding Baley's imprisoned soul fast in the grey of the 
Qties. 

Baley shivered slightly. Air moved against him and there was a 
chill to it. 

Gladia said, 'Are you cold?’ 

‘It wasn’t like this before,’ muftered Baley. 

Tt’s late in the day now, but it isn’t really cold. Would you like 
a coat? One of the robots could bring one in a minute.’ 

‘No. It’s all right.’ They stepped forward along a narrow paved 
path. He said, ‘Is this where you used to walk with Dr Leebig?* 
‘Oh, no. We walked way out among the fields, where you only 
see an occasional robot working and you can heat the animal 
sounds. You and I will stay near the house though, just in case,” 
‘In case what?’ 

‘Well, in case you wane to go in.’ 

‘Or in case you get weary of seeing?’ 

‘It doesn’t bother me,’ she said recklessly. 

There was a vague rustle of leaves above and an all-pervadtog 
yellowness and greenness. There were sharp, thin cries in the air 
about, plus a strident humming, and shadows, too. 

He was esjpecially aware of the shadows. One of them smek out 
befote him, tu shape like a man, that moved as he did in horrible ‘ 

161 



THE NAKEn SUN 


mimicry. Balcy had heard of shadows, of course, and he knew 
what they were, but in the pervasive indirect lighting of the Cities 
he had never been specifically aware of one. 

Behind him, he knew, was the Solarian sun. He took care not to 
look at it, but he knew it was there. 

Space was large, space was lonely, yet he found it drawing 
him. His mind pictured himself striding the surface of a world 
with thousands of miles and light-years of room all about him. 

Why should he find attraction in tins thought of loneliness? He 
didn’t want loneliness. He wanted Earth and the warmth and 
companionship of die man-crammed Cities. 

The picture failed him. He tried to conjure up New York in his 
mind, all the noise and fullness of it, and found he could remain 
conscious only of the quiet, air-moving chill of the surface of 
Solaria. 

Without quite willing it Balcy moved closer to Gladia until he 
was two feet away, then grew aware of her startled face. 

*I beg your pardon,’ he said at once, and drew off. 

She gasped, ‘It’s all right. Won’t you walk this way? We have 
some flower-beds you might like,’ 

The direction she indicated lay away from the sun. Baley 
followed silently. 

Gladia said, ‘Later in the year, it will be wonderful. In the 
warm weather 1 can run down to the lake and swim, or just run 
across the fields, run as fast as I can until I’m just glad to fall 
down and lie still.’ 

She looked down at herself. ‘But this is no costume for it. With 
all this on. I’ve got to walk. Sedately, you know.’ 

‘How would you prefer to dress?’ asked Baley. 

‘Halter and shorts at the most,’ she cried, lifting her arms as 
though feeling the freedom of that in her imagination. ‘Some- 
times less. Sometimes just sandals so you can mel the air with 
every inch Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve offended you.’ 

Baley said, ‘No. It’s all right, Was that your costume when you 
went walking with Dr Lcebig?’ 

_ ‘It varied. It depended on the weather. Sometimes I wore very 
little, but it was viewing, you know. You do understand, 1 hope.’ 

‘I understand. What about Dr Lecbig, though? Did he dress 
lightiy too?’ 

‘Jothan dress lightly?’ Gladia smiled flashingly. ‘Oh, no. He’s 

162 



A PORTRAIT IS COLOURED 

very solemn, always,’ ,Slic twisted her face into a thin look of 
gravity and half winked, catching the very essence of Leebig and 
forcing a short grunt of appreciation out of Balcy, 

‘This is the way he talks,’ she said. *“My dear Crladia, in 
considering die effect of a litsi-ordcr potential on positron 
flow 

‘Is that what he talked to you about? Robotics?’ 

‘Mostly. Oh, he takes it so seriously, you know, lie was always 
trying to teach me about it. He never gave up.’ 

'Did you learn anything?’ 

‘Not one thing, lathing. It’s just all a complete mix-up to me. 
He’d get angry with me sometimes, but when he’d scold, I’d dive 
into the water, if we were anywhere near the lake, and splash 
him.’ 

‘Splash him? I thought you were viewing.’ 

She laughed. ‘You’re such an Earthman. I’d splash where he 
was standing in his own room or on his own estate. The water 
couldn’t touch him, but he would duck just the same. Look at 
that.* 

Balcy looked. They had cia'led a wooded patch and now came 
upon a clearing, centred about an ornamental pond. Small 
bricked walks penetrated the clearing and broke it up. Flowers 
grew in profusion and order, Balcy knew them for flowers from 
Book-films he had viewed. 

In a way the flowers were like the light-patterns that Gladia 
constructed and Bolcy imagined that she constructed them in the 
wlrit of flowers. He touched one cautiously, then looked about, 
Reds and yellow predominated. 

In turning to look about Baley caught a glimpse of the sun. 

He said uneasily, ‘The sun is low in the sky.* 

‘It’s late afternoon,' called Gladia back at him. She had run 
towards rhe pond and was sitting on a stone bench at its edge. 
‘Come hero I’ she called, waving. ‘You can stand if you don’t like 
to sit on stone.* 

Balcy advanced slowly. ‘Does it get this low every day?* and at 
once he was sorry he asked. If the planet rotated, the sun must be 
low in the sly both mornings and afternoons. Only at midday 
could it be high. 

Telling himself this couldn’t change a lifetime of pictured 
thought, He knew there was such a thing as ni^t and had even 

163 


THE NAKED SUN 


experienced it, with a planet’s whole tliickness interposing safely 
between a man and the sun. He knew there were clouds and a 
protective greyness hiding the worst of outdoors. And still, when 
he thought of planetary surfaces, it was always a picture of a 
blaze of light with a sun high in the sky. 

He looked over his shoulder, just quickly enough to get a flash 
of sun, and wondered how far the house was if he should decide to 
return. 

Gladia was pointing to the other end of the stone bench. 

Baley said, ‘That’s pretty close to you, isn’t it?’ 

She spread out her little hands, palms up. 'I’m getting used to 
it. Really.’ 

He sat down, facing towards her to avoid the sun. 

She leaned over backwards towards the water and picked a 
small cup-shaped dower, yellow without and white-streaked with- 
in, not at all flamboyant. She said, ‘This is a native plant. Most 
of the dowers here are from Earth originally.’ 

Water dripped from its severed stem as she extended it gin- 
gerly towards Baley. 

Baley reached for it as gingerly. ‘You killed it,’ he said. 

‘It’s only a flower. There axe thousands more.’ Suddenly, 
before his fingers more than touched the yellow cup, she snatch^ 
it away, her eyes kindling. ‘Or are you trying to imply I could kill 
a human being because I picked a flower?’ 

Baley said in soft conciliation. ‘1 wasn’t implying anything. 
May I see it?’ 

Baley didn’t really want to touch it. It had grown in wet soil 
and there was still the effluvium of mud about it. How could 
these people, whO' were so careful in contact with Earthmen and 
even with one another, be so careless in their contact with 
ordinary dirt? 

But he held the stalk between thumb and forefinger and looked 
at it. The cup was formed of several thin pieces of papery tissue, 
curving up from a common centre. Within it was a white convex 
swelling, damp with liquid and fringed with, dark hairs that trem- 
bled lightly in the wind. 

She said, ‘Can you smell it?’ 

At once Baley was aware of the odour that emanated from it 
He leaned towards it and said, Tt smells like a woman’s per- 
fume.’ 


164 



A 1»0RTRAIT IS COLOURED 

Gladia dapped her hands in delight. ‘ITow like an Earthman. 
What you really mean is that a woman’s perfume smells like 
that.* 

Balcy nodded ruefully, fie was growinR weary of the outdoors. 
The shadows were growing longer and the land was becoming 
sombre. Yet he was determined not to give in. lie warned those 
grey walls of light that dimmed his portrait removed. It was 
quixotic, but there it was. 

Gladia took the flower from Baley, who let it go without reluc- 
tance. Slowly she pulled its petals apart. She said, *1 suppose 
every woman smells different.’ 

‘It depends on ihc perfume,’ said Balcy indifferently. 

‘Imagine being dose enough to tell. I don’t wear perfume 
because no one is dose enough. Except now. But I suppose you 
smell perfume often, all the time. On Earth, your wife ts always 
with ^u, isn’t she?’ She was concentrating very hard on the 
flower, frowning as .she plucked it carefully to pieces. 

‘She’s not always with me,’ said Balcy. ‘Not every minute.’ 

‘But most of the time. And whenever you want to ’ 

Balcy said suddenly, ‘Why did Dr Leebig tty so hard to teach 
you robotics, do you suppose?’ 

The dismembered flower consisted now of a stalk and the inner 
swelling. Gladia twirled it between her fingers, then tossed it 
may, so that it floated for a moment on the surface of the pond. 
'I think he warned me to be his assistant,’ she said. 

‘Did he tell you so, Gladia?’ 

‘Towards the end, Elijah. I think he grew impatient. Anyway, 
he asked me if I didn’t think it would be exciting to work in 
robotics. Naturally, I told him I could think of nothing duller. He 
was quite angry.’ 

‘And he never walked with you again after that’ 

She said, ‘You know, I think that may have been it. I suppose 
his fcelinw were hurt. Really, though, what could I do?* 

‘It was before that, though, that you told him about your quar- 
rels with Dr Delmarre.’ 

Her hands became fists and held so in a tight spasm. Her body 
held stiffly to its position, head b«it and a little to one side. Her 
voice was unnaturally high, ‘What quarrels?’ 

‘Your quarrels with your husband, I understand you hated 
him.’ ' 



THE NAKED SUN 


Her face was distorted and blotched as she glared at him. 
‘Who told you that? Jothan?’ 

*Dr Lcebig mentioned it. I think it’s true.’ 

She was shaken. ‘You’re still trying to prove I killed him. I 
keep thinking you’re my friend and you’re only — only a detective.’ 

She raised her fists and Balcy waited. 

He said, ‘You know you cant touch me.’ 

Her hands dropped and she began crying without a sound. She 
turned her head away. 

Balcy bent his own head and closed his eyes, shutting out the 
disturbing long shadows. He said, ‘Dr Dclmarre was not a very 
affectionate man, was he?’ 

She said in a strangled way, ‘He was a very busy man.’ 

Balcy said, ‘You ore affectionate, on the other hand. You find a 
man interesting. Do you understand?’ 

‘I c-can’t help it. I know it’s disgusting, but I can’t help it. It’s 
even disgusting t-to talk about it.’ 

‘You did talk about it to Dr Lcebig, though?’ 

‘I had to do something and Jothan was handy and he didn’t 
seem to mind and it made me feel better.’ 

‘Was this the reason you quarrelled with your husband? Was it 
that he was cold and unaffcctionate and you resented it?’ 

‘Sometimes I hated him.’ She shrugged her shoulders help* 
Icssiy. ‘He was just a good Solarian and we weren’t scheduled for 
ch — ^for ch ’ She broke down. 

Baley waited. His own stomach was cold and open air pressed 
down heavily upon him. When Gladia’s sobs grew quieter, he 
asked, as gently as he could, ‘Did you kill him, Gladia?’ 

‘N*no.’ Then, suddenly, as though all resistance had corroded 
within her: ‘I haven’t told you everything.’ 

‘Well, then, "please do so now.’ 

‘We were quarrelling that time, the time he died. The old 
quarrel. I screamed at him but he never shouted back. He hardly 
ever even said anything and that just made it worse. I was so 
angry, so angry. I don’t remember after that’ 

‘Jwoshapnatl* Balcy swayed slightly and his eyes sought the 
neutral stone of the bench. ‘What do you mean you don’t remem- 
ber?’ 

‘I mean he was dead and I was screaming and the robots 
came ’ 


166 



A PORTRAIT IS COI.OURED 

‘DW you kill him?’ 

‘I don’t remember it, EUjiUi, and I would remember it if I had, 
wouldn’t I? Only I don’t remember anything eke, either, and 
I’ve been so friglucncd, so frightened. Help me, please, Elijah,’ 

‘Don’t wony, Gladia. I’ll help you.’ Baley’s reeling mind 
fastened on the murder weapon. What happened to it? It must 
have been removed. If ao, only the murderer could have done it. 
Since Gladia wa.s found immediately after the murder on the 
scene, she could not have done it. 'llie murderer would have to be 
someone else. No matter how it looked to everyone on Solaria, it 
had to be someone else, 

Baley thought sickly : I’ve got to get back to the house. 

He said, ‘Gladia ’ 

Somehow he was staring at the sun. It was nearly at the 
horizon. He had to tutn his head to look at it ond his eyes locked 
with a morbid fascination, lie had never seen it so. Fat, red, and 
dim somehow, so that one could look at it without blinding, and 
see the bleeding clouds above it in thin lines, with one crossing it 
in a bat of black. 

Baley mumbled, ‘The sun is so red,* 

He beard Gladia’.s choked voice say drearily, ‘It’s always red at 
sunset, red and dying.’ 

Baley had a vision. The sun was moving down to the horizon 
^ because the planet’s surface was moving away from it, a thousand 
' miles an hour, spinning under that naked sun, spinning with noth- 
ing to guard the microbes called men that scurried over its spin- 
ning surface, spinning madly for ever, spinning— spinning, . , 

It was his head that was spinning and the stone bench that was 
slanting beneath him and the sky heaving, blue, dark blue, and 
the sun was gone, with the tops of trees and the ground rushing 
up and Gladia screaming thinly and another sound . , , 


167 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 


A SOLUTION IS OFFERED 

Baley was aware first of enclosure, the absence of the open, and 
then of a face bending over him. 

He stared for a moment without recognition. Then : 

*Daneell‘ 

The robot’s face showed no sign of relief or of any other 
recognisable emodon at being addressed. He said, Tt is well lhat 
you have recovered consciousness, Partner Elijah. I do not believe 
you have suffered physical injury.’ 

‘I’m all right,’ said Baley tesdly, struggling to his elbows. 
‘Jehoshaphat, am I in bed? What for?’ 

‘You nave been exposed to the open a number of times today. 
The effects upon you have been cumulative and you need rest.’ 

‘I need a few answers first.’ Baley looked about and tried to 
deny to himself that his head was spinning just a little. He did not 
recognise the room. The curtains were drawn. Lights were com- 
fortably artificial. He was feeling much better, ‘For instance, 
where am I?’ 

‘In a room of Mrs Delmarre’s mansion.’ 

‘Next, let’s get something straight. What are you doing here? 
How did you get away from the robots I set over you?’ 

Dancel said, ‘It had seemed to me that you would be dis- 
pleased at this development and yet in the interests of your safety 
and of my orders, I felt that I had no choice but ’ 

‘What did you do? Jchoshapliatl’ 

‘It seems Mrs Delmarre attempted to view you some hour^ 
ago.’ 

‘Yes.’ Baley remembered Gladia saying as much earlier in the 
day. ‘I know that.’ 

‘Your order to the robots that held me prisoner was, in your 
words: “Do not allow him” (meaning myself) “to establish con- 
tact with other humans or other robots, either by seeing or by 
viewing.” However, Partner Elijah, you said notlung about for- 

168 



A SOLOTION tS OFFERED 

bidding other humans or robots to contact me. You see die dis- 
tinction?’ 

Balcy groaned. 

Danccl said, ‘No need for distress, Paitner Elijah. The flaw in 
your orders was instrumental in saving your life, since it brought 
me to the scene. You sec, when Mrs Delmarrc viewed me, being 
allowed to do so by my robot guardians, she asked after you and I 
answcicd, quite uutluully, that I did not know of your where- 
abouts, but that I could attempt to find you, She seemed anxious 
that I do so. I said I thought ii possible you might have left the 
bouse temporarily and that I would check that matter and would 
she, in the meanwhile, order the robots in die room with me, to 
search the man.sion for your presence.’ 

‘Wasn’t she surprised that you didn’t deliver the orders to the 
robots yourself?’ 

‘I gave her the impression, I believe, that as an Autoran I was 
not as accustomed to robots as she wiis; that she might deliver the 
orders with greater audiority and cilcct a more speedy consum- 
mation. Solarians, it is quite clear, are vain of their skill with 
robots and contemptuous of the ability of natives of other planets 
to handle them. Is that not your opinion as well, Partner i^jah?* 
‘And she ordered them away, then?* 

‘With diillculty. They protested previous orders but, of course, 
could not state the nature thereof since you had ordered them to 
tell no one of my own true identity. She overrode, them, although 
the final orders had to be shrilled out in fury.’ 

‘And then you left,’ 

‘I did. Partner Elijah.’ 

A pity, thought Balcy, that Gladia did not consider that 
episode important enough to relay to him when he viewed her. He 
said, 'It took you long enough to find me, Daneel.’ 

‘Tlie robots on Somria have a network of Information through 
subetheric contact. A skilled Solarian could obtain information 
readily, but, mediated as it is through millions of individual 
machines, one such as myself, without experience in the matter, 
must take dme to, unearth a single datum. It was more than an 
hour before the information as to your whereabouts reached me, I 
lost further time by visiting Dr Delmarte’s place of business after 
you had departed.’ 

“What were you doing there?’ 

169 



THE KAKBD SUN 


‘Pursuing researches of my own. I regret that this had to be 
done in your absence, but the exigencies of the investiption left 
me no choice.’ 

Baley said, ‘Did you view Klorissa Cantoro, or see her?’ 

‘I viewed her, but from another part of her building, not from 
our own estate. There were records at the farm I had to see. 
Ordinarily viewing would have been sufficient, but it might have 
been inconvenient to remain on our own estate since three robots 
knew my real nature and might easily have imprisoned me once 
more.’ 

Baley felt almost well. He swung his legs out of bed and found 
himself in a kind of nightgown. He stared at it witli distaste. ‘Get 
me my clothes ! ’ 

Daneel did so. 

As Baley dressed, he said, ‘Where’s Mrs Delmarre?’ 

‘Under house arrest, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘What? By whose order?’ 

‘By my order. She is confined to her bedroom under robotic 
guard and her right to give orders other than to meet personal 
needs has been neutralised.’ 

‘By yoursdf?’ 

‘The robots on this estate are not aware of my identiw.’ 

Baley finished dressing. ‘I know the case against Ghdia,’ he 
said. ‘She had the opportunity; more of it, in fact, than we 
thought at first. She did not rush to the scene at the sound of her 
husband’s cry, as she first said. She was there all along.’ 

‘Does she doim to have wimessed the murder and seen the 
murderer?’ 

‘No. She remembers nothing of the crudal moments. That 
happens sometimes. It mrns out, also, that she has a motive.’ 

‘What was it, Parmer Elijah?’ 

‘One that I had suspected as a possibility from tlie first. I said 
to myself, if this were Earth, and Dr Delmarre were as he was 
described to be and Gladia Delmarre as she seemed to be, I would 
say that die vras in love with him, and that he was in 
love only with himself. The difficulty was to tell whedier Sol- 
arians felt love or reacted to love on any Earthly sense. My 
judgment as to their emotions and reactions wasn’t to be trusted. 
It was why I had to see a few. Not view them, but see them.’ 

‘I do not follow you, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘I don’t know if I can' explain to you. These people have their 



A SOLUTION IS OFFERED 

gene possibilities catefully plotted before birdi and the actual 
gene distribution tested oftcr birth.’ 

‘I know that.’ 

‘But genes aren’t everything. Environment counts too, and 
environment can bend into actual psydiosis where genes indicate 
only a potentiality for a particular psychosis. Did you notice 
Gladia’s interest in Earth?’ 

‘I remarked upon it, Partner Elijah, and considered it an as- 
sumed interest designed to influence your opinions.’ 

‘Suppose it were a real interest, even a fascination. Suppose 
there were something about Eartli’s crowds that excited her. Sup* 
pose she were attracted against her will by something she had 
been taught to consider filthy. There was possible abnormah'ty. I 
had to test it by seeing Solariaiis and noticing how they reacted to 
it, and seeing her and noticing how she reacted to it. It was why I 
had to get away front you, Dancel, at any cost. It was why I had 
to abandon viewing as a method for carrying on the investigation.’ 

‘You did not explain tliis. Partner Elijah.’ 

‘Would the explanation have helped against what you con- 
ceived your duty under First Law to be?’ 

Danecl was silent. 

Balcy said, ‘The experiment worked, I saw or tried to see 
several people. An old sociologist tried to sec me and had to give 
up midway, A roboticist refused to see me at all even under ter- 
rific force. The bare possibility sent him into an almost infantile 
frenzy. He sucked his finger and wept. Dr Dclmatrc’s assistant 
was used to personal presence in the way of her profession and so 
she tolerated me, but at twenty feet only. Gladia, on the other 
hand——’ 

‘Yes, Partner Elijah?’ 

‘Gladia consented to sec me without more than a slight hesi- 
tation, She tolerated my presence easily and actually showed signs , 
of decreasing strain as time went on. It all fits into a pattern of 
psychosis. She didn’t mind seeing me; she was interested in 
Earth; she might have felt an abnormal interest in her husband. 
All of it could be explained by a strong and, for this world, 
psychotic interest in the personal presence of members of the 
opposite sex. Dr Delmarre, himself, was not the type to en- 
courage such a feeling or co-operate with it. It must have been 
very ^strating for her.’ 


171 



THE NAKED SUN 


Daneel nodded. ‘Frustrating enough for murder in a mntn ent 
of passion.’ , 

‘In spite of everything, I don’t think so, Daneel.’ 

‘Are you perhaps being influenced by extraneous motives of 
your own, Farmer Elijah? Mrs Delmarre is an attractive woman 
and you are an Earthman in whom a preference for the personal 
presence of an attractive woman is not psychotic.’ 

*I have better reasons,’ said Baley uneasily. Dancel’s cool 
glance was too penetrating and soul-dissecting by half. He said, 
‘If she were the murderess of her husband, she would also have to 
be the attempted murderess of Gruer.’ He had almost the impulse 
to explain the way murder could be manipulated through robots, 
but held back. He was not sure how Daneel would react to a 
theory that made unwitting murderers of robots. 

Daneel said, ‘And the attempted murderess of yourself as well.’ 

Baley frowned. He had had no intention of telling Daneel of 
the poisoned arrow that had missed; no intention of strengthening 
the other’s already too strong protective complex vts-d-zits him> 
self. 

He said angrily, ‘What did Klorissa toll you?’ He ought to 
have warned her to keep quiet, but then, how was he to know that 
Daneel would be about, asking questions? 

Daneel said cahnly, ‘Mrs Contoro had nothing to do with the 
matter, I witnessed the murder attempt myself.’ 

Baley was thoroughly confused, ‘You were nowhere about.’ 

Daneel said, ‘I caught you myself and brought you here an 
hour ago.’ 

‘What are you talking about?’ 

‘Do you remember, Partner Elijah? It was almost a perfect 
murder. Did not Mrs Delmarre suggest that you go into die 
open? I was not a witness to that, but I feel certain she did.’ 

‘She did suggest it. Yes.’ 

‘She may even have enticed you to leave the house,’ 

Baley thought of the ‘portrait’ of himself, of the enclosing grey 
walls. Could it have been clever ps3^chology? Could a Solarian 
have that much intuitive understanding of me psychology of an 
Earthman? 

‘No,’ he said, 

Daneel said, ‘Was it she who suggested you go down to the 
ornamental pond and sit on the ben^?’ 

172 



A SOLUTION IS OFFEABD 


'Well, yes.’ 

‘Does it occur to you that she might have been watching yoU; 
noticing your gathering dizziness?’ 

‘She asked once or twice i£ I wanted to go back.’ 

‘She might not have meant it seriously. She might have been 
watching you turn sicker on that bench. She might even have 
pushed you, or perhaps a push wasn’t necessary. At the moment I 
reached you and caught you in my arms, you were in the process 
‘ of falling backwards off the stone bench and into three feet of 
water, in which you would surely have drowned. Moreover, Mrs 
Delmarre sat beside you, watching you foil, without a move to 
stop you. Not would .she have attempted to pull you out of the 
water. She would have let you drown. She might have celled a 
robot, but the robot would surely have arrived too late. And after- 
wards, she would explain merely that, of course, it was impossible 
for her to touch you even to save your life.’ 

True enough, thought Baley. No one would question her in- 
ability to touch a human being. The surprise, if any, would come 
at her ability to be as close to one as she was. 

Daneel said, ‘You see, then, Partner Elijah, that her guilt can 
scarcely be in question. You suited that she would have to be the 
attempted murderess of Agent Gruer as though this Were an 
argument against her guilt. You see now that she must have been. 
Her only motive to murder you was the same as her motive for 
trying to murder Gruer; the necessity of getting rid of an embar- 
rassingly persistent invesfigalor of the first murder.* 

Baley said, ‘The whole sequence might have been an innocent 
one. She might never have realised how the outdoors would affect 
me.’ 

‘She studied Earth. She know the peculiarities of Eatthmen.' 

‘I assured her I had been outdoors today and that I was grow- 
ing used to it.’ 

‘She may have known better.’ 

Baley pounded fist against palm. ‘You’re making her too 
clever. It doesn’t fit and I don’t believe it. In any case, no murder 
accusation can stick unless and until the absence of the muider 
weanon can be accounted for.’ 

Daneel looked steadily at the EarUunan, *I can do that, too. 
Partner Elijah.’ 


173 



THE NAKED SUN 


Baley looked at his robot partner witli a stunned expression, 
‘How?’ 

‘Your reasoning, you will remember, Partner Elijah, was this. 
Were Mrs Delmarre the murderess, then the weapon, whatever it 
was, must have remained at the scene of the murder. The robots, 
appearing almost at once, saw no sign of such a weapon, hence it 
must have been removed from the scene, hence the murderer 
must have removed it, hence the murderer could not be Mrs 
Delmarre. Is all that correct?’ 

‘Correct.’ 

‘Yet,’ continued the robot, ‘there is one place where the robots 
did not look for the weapon.’ 

‘Where?’ 

‘Under Mrs Delmarre. She was lying in a faint, brought on by 
the excitement and passion of the moment, whether murderess or 
not, and the weapon, whatever it was, lay under her and out of 
sight.’ 

Baley said, ‘Then the weapon would have been discovered as 
soon as she was moved.’ 

‘Exactly,’ said Danecl, ‘but she was not moved by the robots. 
She herself told us yesterday at dinner that Dr Thool ordered the 
robots to put a pillow under her head and leave her. She was first 
moved by Dr Altim Thool, himself, when he arrived to examine 
her.’ 

‘So?’ 

‘It follows, therefore. Partner Elijah, that a new possibility 
arises, Mrs Delmarre was the murderess, tltc weapon was at tlie 
scene of the crime, but Dr Thool carried it off and disposed of it 
to protect Mrs Delmarre.’ 

Baley felt contemptuous. He had almost been seduced into ex- 
pecting something reasonable. He said, ‘Completely motiveless. 
Why should Dr Thool do such a thing?’ 

‘For a very good reason. You remember Mrs Delmarrc’s re- 
marks concerning him; “He always treated me since I was a 
child and was always so friendly and kind.” I wondered if he 
might have some motive for being particularly concerned about 
her. It was for that reason that I visited the baby farm and in- 
spected the records. What I had merely guessed at as a possibility 
turned out to be the truth.’ 

‘What?’ 


174 



A SOtUTION IS OFFERED 

‘Dr Altim Thool was the father of Glodia Delmarre, and what 
is more, he knew of the relationship.’ 

Baley had no thought of disbelieving the robot. He felt only a 
deep chagrin that it had been Robot Danecl OUvaw and not him- 
self that had carried through the necessary piece of logical 
analysis. Even so, it was not complete. 

He said, ‘Have you spoke to Eh Thool?’ 

‘Yes. I have placed him under house arrest, also.’ 

‘What does he say?’ 

‘He admits tliat he is the father of Mrs Delmarre. I confronted 
him widi the records of the fact and tlic records of his inquiries 
into her health when she was a youngster. As a doctor, he was 
allowed more leeway in this respect than another Solarian might 
have been allowed.’ 

‘Why should he have inquired into her health?’ 

‘I have considered that, too. Partner Elijah. He was an old man 
when he was given special permission to have an additional child 
and, what is more, he succeeded in producing one. He considers 
this a tribute to his genes and to his physical fimess. He is 
prouder of the result, perhaps, than is quite customary on this 
world. Moreover, his position as physidan, a profession little 
regarded on Solaria because it involves personal presences, made 
it the more important to him to nurture this sense of pride. For 
that reason, he maintained unobtrusive contact with his offspring.’ 

‘Does Gladia know anything of it?’ 

‘As far as Dr Thool is aware. Partner Elijah, she does not.’ 

Baley said, ‘Docs Thool adtxut removing the weapon?’ 

‘No. That he does not’ 

‘Then you’ve got nothing, DanceL’ 

‘Nothing?’ 

‘Unless you can find the weapon and prove he took it, or at the 
very least induce him to confess, you have no evidence. A chain of 
deduction is pretty, but It isn’t evidence.’ 

‘The man would scarcely confess without considerable ques- 
tioning of a type I myself could not carry through. His dau^ter 
is dear to him.’ 

‘Not at all,’ said Baley. ‘His feeling for his daughter is not at 
all what you and I are accustomed to. Solaria is different I ’ 

He strode the'length of the room and back, letting himself cool. 

175 



THE NAKED SUN 

He said, ‘Daiicel, you have worked out a perfect exercise in logic, 
but none of it is reasonable, just the same.* Logical but not 
reasonable. Wasn't that the definition of a robot? 

He went on, *Dr Thool is an old man and past his best years, 
regardless of whctlier he was capable of siring a daughter thirty 
years or so ago. Even Spacers get senile. Picture him tlicn ex- 
amining his daughter in a faint and his son-in law dead by vio- 
lence. Can you imagine the unusual nature of the situation for 
him? Can you suppose he could have remained master of him- 
self? So much the master of himself, in fact, as to carry out a 
series of amazing actions? 

‘Look I First, he would have had to notice a weapon under his 
daughter, one that must have been so well covered by her body 
that the robots never noticed it. Secondly, from whatever small 
scrap of object he noted, he must have deduced the presence of 
the weapon and seen at once that if he could but sneak off with 
that weapon, unseen, a murder accusation against his daughter 
would be hard to substantiate. That’s pretty subtle thinking for 
an old man in a panic. Then, thirdly, he would have had to carry 
the plan through, also tough for an old man in a panic. And now, 
lastly, he would have to dare to compound the felony further by 
sticMng to his lie. It all may be the result of logical thinking, but 
none of it is reasonable.* 

Daneel said, ‘Do you have an alternate solution to the crime, 
Partner EUjah?’ 

Baley had sat down during the course of his last speech and 
now he tried to rise again, but a combination of weariness and the 
depth of the chair defeated him. He held out his hand petulantly. 
‘Give me a hand, will you, Daneel?’ 

Daneel stared at his own hand. ‘I beg your pardon. Partner 
EUjah?’ 

Baley silently swore at the other’s literal mind and said, ‘Help 
me out of the chair.’ 

Daneel’s strong arm Ufted him out of the chair effortlessly. 

Baley said, ‘'nianks. No, I haven’t an alternate solution. At 
least, 1 have, but the whole thing hinges on the location of the 
weapon,’ 

He walked impatiently to the heavy curtains that Uned most of 
one waU and UftM one corner without quite realising what he was 
doing. He stared at the black patch of glass imtil he became aware 

176 



A SOLUTION IS OFFERED 

of the fact that he was looking out into the early night, and then 
dropped the curtain just as Danecl, approaching quietly, took it 
out of his fingers. 

In the split fraction of a moment in which Baley watched the 
robot’s hand lake the curtain away from liim with the loving 
caution of a mother protecting her child from the fire, a revolu- 
tion took place within him. 

He snatched the curtain back, yanking it out of Danecl’s grasp. 
Throwing his full weight against it, he tore it away from the 
window, leavhig shreds behind, 

‘Partner Elijah!’ said Dancel softly. ‘Surely you know now 
what the open window will do to you.’ 

‘1 know,’ said Baley, ‘What it will do for me.’ 

He stared out of the window. There was nothing to sec, only 
blackness, but that blackness was open air. It was unbroken, un- 
obstructed space, even if unlit, and he was facing it. 

And for the first time he faced it freely, It was no longer 
bravado, or perverse curiosity, or the pathway to a solution of a 
murder. Pie faced it because he knew he wanted to and because he 
needed to. That made all the difference. 

Walls were crutches I Darkness and crowds were crutches. He 
must have thought them so, unconsdou.sly, and hated them even 
when he most thought he loved and needed dicm. Why else had 
he so resented Glama's grey enclosure of his portrait? 

He felt himself filling with a sense of viaory, and, as though 
victory were contagious, a now thought came, burstbg hke an 
inner shout. 

Baley turned dizzily to Daneel. ‘I know,’ he whispered, ‘jeho- 
shaphat 1 I know.’ 

‘Know what. Partner Elijah?’ 

‘I know what happened to the weapon; I know who is respon- 
sible. All at once, everything falls into place,’ 


177 



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 


A MEETING IS HELD 

Daneel would allow no immediate action. 

‘Tomorrow 1 ’ he had said with respectful firmness. ‘That is my 
suggestion, Partner Elijah. It is late and you are in need of rest.’ 

Balcy had to admit the truth of it, and besides there was 
need of preparation; a considerable quantity of it. He had the 
solution of the murder, he felt sure of that, but it rested on deduc- 
tion, as much as had Danccl’s theory, and it was worth a$ little as 
evidence. Solarians would have to help him. 

And if he were to face them, one Earthman against half a 
dozen Spacers, he would have to be in full control. That meant 
rest and preparation. 

Yet he would not sleep. He was certain he would not sleep. Not 
all the softness of the special bed set up for him by smoothly 
functioning robots nor all the soft perfume and softer music in the 
special room of Gladia’s mansion would help. He was sure of 
it. 

Daneel sat unobtrusively in one darkened comer. 

Baley said, ‘Are you still afraid of Gladia?’ 

The robot said, ‘I do not think it wise to allow you to sleep 
alone and unprotected.’ 

‘Well, have your way. Are you clear as to what I want you to 
do, Daneel?’ 

‘I am, Parmer Elijah.’ 

‘You have no reservations under the First Law, I hope.’ 

‘I have some with respect to the conference you wish arranged. 
Will you be armed and careful of your own safety?’ 

‘I assure you, I will.’ 

Daneel delivered himself of a sigh that was somehow so human> 
that for a moment Baley found himself trying to penetrate the 
darkness that he might study the machinc^perfect face of the 
other. 

■ Daneel said, ‘I have not always found human behaviour logical.’ 

178 



A MEETING IS IIEtD 

/ 

‘We need Three Laws of our own,’ said Balcy, ‘but I’m glad 
we don’t have them,’ 

He stared at the ceiling. A great deal depended on DanccI and 
yet he could tell him very little of the whole truth. Robots were 
too involved. The planet, Aurora, had its reasons for sending a 
robot as representative of their interests, bin it was a mistake. 
Robots had their limitations. 

Still, if all went right, this could all be over in twelve hours. 
He could be heading back to Earth in twenty-four, bearing hope. 
A strange kind of hope. A kind he could scarcely believe himself, 
yet it was Earth’s way out. It must be Earth’s way out. 

Earth! New York! Jessie and Ben! The comfort and familiar- 
ity and dearness of home I 

He dwelled on it, half asleep, and the thought of Earth failed 
to conjure the comfort he expected. There was an estrangement 
between himself and the Cities. 

And at some unknown point in time it all faded and he slept. 

Baley, having slept and then wakened, showered and dressed. 
Physically he was quite prepared. Yet he was unsure. It was not 
that his reasoning seemed any less cogent to himself in the pallor 
of morning. It was rather the necessity of facing Solatians. 

Could he be sure of their reactions after all? Or would he still 
be working blind? 

Gladia was the first to appear. It was simple for her, of course. 
She was on an intramural circuit, since she was In the mansion 
itself. She was pale and expressionless, in a white gown that 
draped her into a cold statue. 

She stared helplessly at Baley. Baley smiled back gently and 
she seemed to take comfort from that. 

One by one, they appeared now, Attlebish, the Acting Head of 
Security, appeared next after Gladia, lean and bau^ty, his large 
chin set in disapproval. Then Lccbig, the roboticist, impatient 
and angry, his weak eyelid fluttering periodically, -Quemot, the 
sociologist, a little tireef, but smiling at Baley out of deep-set eyes 
in a condescending way, as though to say: We have sefen one 
another, we have been intimate, 

Klorissa Cantoro, when she appeared, seemed uneasy in he 
presence of the others. She glanced at Gladia for a moment with 
an audible sniff, then stared at the floor. Dr Thool, the physician, 

179 



THE NAKED SDN 


appeared last. He looked haggard, almost sick. 

They were all there, all but Grucr, who was slowly recovering 
and for whom attendance was physically impossible, (Wclk 
thought Balcy, we’ll do without him.) All were dressed formally; 
all sat in rooms that were well curtained into enclosure. 

Danccl had arranged matters well. Balcy hoped fervently that 
what remained for Daneel to do would work as well. 

Balcy looked from one Spacer to the other. His heart thudded. 
Each figure viewed him out of a diflcrcnt room and the clash of 
lighting, furniture, and wall decoration was dizzying. 

Daley said, T want to discuss titc matter of the killing of Dr 
Bikainc Delmarre under the heading of motive, opportunity, and 
means, in that order ’ 

Attlebish interrupted. ‘Will this be a long speech?’ 

Baley said sharply, ‘It may be. I have b^n callal here to in- 
vestigate a murder and such a job is my speciality and my profes- 
sion. I know best how to go about it.’ Take nothing from them 
now, he thought, or Uiis whole tiling won’t work. Dominate 1 
Dominate] 

He went on, making his words as sharp and incisive as he 
could. ‘Motive first, in a way, motive is the most unsatisfactory 
of the three items. Opportunity and means arc objective. They 
can be investigated factually. Motive is subjective. It may be 
something that can be observed by others; revenge for a known 
humiliation, for instance. But it may also be completely un- 
observable; an irrational, homicidal hate on the part of a well- 
disciplined person who never lets it show. 

‘Now almost all of you have told me at one time or another 
that you believed Gladia Delmarre to have committed the crime. 
Certainly, no one has suggested an alternate suspect. Has Gladia a 
motive? Dr Leebig suggested one. He said that Gladia quarrelled 
frequently widi her husband and Gladia later admitted this to 
me. The rage that can arise out of a quarrel can, conceivably, 
move a person to murder. Very well. 

‘The question remains, though, whetlier she is the only one 
with a motive. I wonder. Dr Leebig, himself * 

The roboticist almost jumped. His hand extended rigidly in the 
direction of Baley. ‘Watch what you say, Earthman!’ 

‘I am only theorising,’ said Baley coldly. ‘You, Dr Leebig, 
were working with Dr Delmarre on new robot models. You ate 

180 



A MEETING IS HELD 


tlie best man in Solaria as far as robotics is concerned. You say so 
and I believe ii.’ 

Leebig smiled with open condescension. 

Baley went on. ‘But I have heard diat Dr Delmarrc was about 
to break off relations with you for matters concerning yourself of 
which he disapproved,’ 

‘False! False!’ 

‘Perhaps. But what if it were true? Wouldn’t you have a 
motive m get rid of him before he humiliated you publicly by 
breaking with you? 1 have a feeling you could not easily bear 
such humiliation,’ 

Baley went on rapidly to give Leebig no chance to retort. 

‘And you, Mrs Cantoro, Dr Dclmarrc’s death leaves you in 
charge of fmtal engineering, a responsible position.’ 

‘SMes above, we talked about that before,’ cried Klorissa in 
anguish, 

‘I know we did, but it’s a point that must be considered, any- 
way. As for Dr Quemot, he played chess with Dr Dehnarre 
re^larly. Perhaps he grew annoyed at losing too many games.’ 

The sociologist interposed quietly. ‘Losing a chess game is in- 
sufSdent motive surely, Plainclothesman.’ 

‘It depends on how seriously you take your chess. Motives can 
seem all the world to the murderer and completely insignificant to 
everyone else. Well, it doesn’t matter. My point is that" motive 
alone is insufficient. Anyone can have a motive, particularly for 
the murder of a man suoi as Dr Dehnarre.’ 

‘What do you mean by that remark,’ demanded Quemot in 
indignation. 

‘Why, only that Dr Dehnarre was a “good Solarian.” You all 
described him as such. He rigidly fulfilled all the requirements of 
Solarian custom. He wets an ideal man, almost an abstraction. 
Who could feel love, or even liking, for such a man? A man 
without weaknesses serves only to make everyone else conscious 
of his own imperfections. A primitive poet named Tennyson once 
wrote : “He is all fault who has no fault at all.” ’ 

‘No one would kill a man for being too good,’ said Klorissa, 
frowning. 

‘You little know,’ said Baley, and went on without amplifica- 
tion, *Dr Dehnarre was aware of a conspiraqr in Solatia, or 
thought he wasj a conspiracy diat was preparing an assault on the 

181 



THE NAKED SUN 

rest of the Galaxy for purposes of conquest. He was interested in 
preventing that. For that reason, those concerned in the con- 
spiracy might find it necessary to do away with him. Anyone here 
could be a member of the conspiracy, including, to be sure, Mrs 
Delmarre, but including even the Acting Head of Security, 
Corwin Attlcbish.* 

‘I?’ said Attlcbish, unmoved. 

‘You certainly attempted to end the investigatioh as soon as 
Gruer’s mishap put you in charge.’ 

Balcy took a few slow sins at his drink (straight from its 
original container, untouched by human hands other than his own, 
or robotic hands, either) and gadicred his strength. So far, this 
was a waiting game, and he was thankful the Solarians were 
sitting still for it. They hadn’t the Earthman’s experience of deal- 
ing with people at close quarters. They weren’t in-fighters. 

He said, ‘Opportunity next. It is the general opinion that only 
Mrs Delmarre had opportunity since only she could approach her 
husband in actual personal presence. 

‘Are we sure of that? Suppose someone other than Mrs Del- 
marre had made up his or her mind to kill Dr Delmarre? Would 
not such a desperate resolution make the discomfort of personal 
presence secondary? If any of you were set on murder, wouldn’t 
you bear personal presence just long enough to do the job? 
Couldn’t you sneak into the Delmarre mansion ’ 

Altlebish interposed frigidly. ‘You are ignorant of the matter, 
Earthman. Whe&cr we would or would not doesn’t matter. The 
fact is that Dr Delmarre himself would not allow seeing, I assure 
you. If anyone came into his personal presence, regardless of how 
valued and long-standing a friendship there was between them, 
Dr Delmarre would order him away and, if necessary, call robots 
to help with the ejection.’ 

‘True,’ said Balcy, Hf Dr Delmarre were aware that personal 
presence was involved.’ 

^ ‘What do you mean by that?’ demanded Dr Thool in surprise, 
his voice quavering. 

‘When you treated Mrs Delmarre at the scene of the murder,’ 
replied Baley, looking full at his questioner, ‘she assumed you 
were viewing her, until you actually touched her. So she told me 
and so I believe. I am, myself, accustomed only to seeing. When I 
arrived at Solaria and met Security Head Gruer, I assumed I was 

182 



A MEETING IS HELD 

seeing him. When at the end of out interview, Gmer disappeared, 
I was taken completely by surprise. 

‘Now assume the reverse. Suppose that for all a man’s adult 
life, he had been viewing only; never seeing anyone, except on 
rare occasions his wife. Now suppose someone other than his wife 
walked up to him in personal presence. Would he not automatic- 
ally assume that it was a matter of viewing, particularly if a robot 
had been instructed to advise Delmarrc that viewing contact was 
being set up?’ 

‘Not for a minute,’ said Quemot ‘The sameness of background 
would give it away.’ 

‘Maybe, but how many of you are aware of background now? 
There would be a minute or so, at least, before Dr Delmane 
would grow aware that something was wrong and in that time, his 
friend, whoever he was, could walk up to him, raise a club, and 
bring it down.’ 

‘Impossible,’ said Quemot stubbornly, 

‘I think not,’ said Baley. ‘I think opportunity must be cancelled 
out as absolute proof that Mrs Dehnatre is me murderess. She 
had opportunity, but so mi^t others.’* 

Baley waited again. He felt perspiration on his forehead, but 
wiping it away would have made him look weak. He must main- 
tain absolute charge of the proceedings. The person at whom he 
was aiming must be placed in self-convinced inferiority. It was 
hard for an Earthman to do that to a Spacer. 

Baley looked from face to face and decided that matters were 
at least progressing satisfactorily. Even Attlcbish looked quite 
humanly concerned. 

‘And so we come,’ he said, ‘to means, and that is the most 
puzzUng factor of all. The weapon with which the murder was 
committed was never found.’ 

‘We know tihat,’ said Attlebish. ‘If it were not for that point, 
we would have considered the case against Mrs Delmarrc conr 
elusive. We would never have required an investigation,’ 

‘Perhaps,’ said Baley. ‘Let’s analyse the matter of means, then. 
There are two possibilities. Either Mrs Delmarre commit!^ the 
murder, or someone else did. If Mrs Delmarre committed the 
murder, the weapon would have had to remain at the scene of the 
crime, unless it were removed later. It has been suggested by my 
parmer, Mr Olivaw of Aurora, who is not present at the moment, 

183 



THE NAKED SUN 


that Dr Thool had the opportunity to remove tlic weapon. I ask 
Dr Thool now, in the presence of all of us, if he did this, if he 
removed a weapon while examining the unconscious Mrs Dcl- 
marre?’ 

Dr Thool was shaking. ‘No, no. I swear it. I’ll abide any ques« 
tions. I swear I removed nothing.’ 

Balcy said, ‘Is there anyone who wishes to suggest at this point 
that Dr Thool is lying?’ 

There was a silence, during which Lecbig looked at an object 
outside of Baley’s field of vision and muttered something about 
die time. 

Balcy said, ‘The second possibility is that someone else com- 
mitted the crime and carried the weapon off with him. But if that 
were so, one must ask why. Carrying the weapon away is an 
advertisement of the fact that Mrs Dclmarrc was not the mur- 
deress. If an outsider were the murderer, he would have to be a 
complete imbecile not to leave the weapon with the corpse to 
convict" Mrs Delmarre. Either way, then, the weapon must he 
there. Yet it was not seen.’ 

Attlcbish said, ‘Do you take us for fools or for blind men?’ 

‘I take you for Solarians,’ said Balcy calmly, ‘and therefore 
incapable of recognising die pardcular weapon that Was left at 
the scene of the crime as a weapon.* 

*I don’t understand a word,’ muttered Klorissa in distress. 
Even Gladia, who had scarcely moved a muscle during the 
course of the meeting, was staring at Balcy in surprise. 

Baley said, ‘Dead husband and unconscious wife were not the 
only individuals on the scene. There was also a disorganised 
robot.’ 

‘Well?’ said Leebig angrily. 

^ ‘Isn’t it obvious, dien, that, in having eliminated the impos- 
sible, what remains, however improbable, is the truth. The robot 
at the scene of the crime was the murder weapon, a murder 
weapon none of you could recognise by force of your training.’ 

They all talked at once; all but Gladia, who simply stared. 
Baley raised his arms. ‘HoLJ it I Quiet 1 Let me explain!’ And 
once again he told the story of the attempt on Gruer’s life and the 
method by which it could have been accomplished. This time he 
added the attempt on his own life at the baby farm. 

184 



A MEETING IS HELD 


Leebig said impatiently, ‘I suppose that was managed by hav- 
ing one robot poison an arrow without knowing it was using 
poison, and having a second robot hand the poisoned arrow to the 
boy after telling him that you were an Earthman, without its 
knowing tliat the arrow was poisoned.’ 

‘Something like that. BoUt robots would be completely in- 
structed,’ 

‘Very far-fetched,’ said Leebig. 

Qucniot was pale and looked as though he might be sick at any 
moment. *No Solarian could possibly use robots to harm a 
human.’ 

‘Maybe so,’ said Baley with a shrug, ‘but the point is that 
robots can be so manipulated. Ask Dr Leebig. He is the robot- 
icist.’ 

Leebig said, ‘It docs not apply to the murder of Dr Delmarre. 
I told you that yesterday. How can anyone arrange to have a 
robot smash a man’s skull?’ 

‘Shall I explain how?’ 

‘Do so if you can.’ 

Baley said, ‘It was a ncw-modcl robot that Dr Delmarre was 
testing. The significance of that wasn’t plain to me until last 
evening, when I had occasion to say to a robot, in asking for lus 
help in rising out of a chair, “Give me a handl” The robot 
looked at his own hand in confusion as though he thought he was 
expected to detach it and give it to me. I had to repeat my order 
less idiomatically. But it reminded me of something Dr Leebig 
had told me earlier that day. There was experimentation among 
robots with replaceable limbs. 

‘Suppose this robot that Dr Delmarre had been testing was one 
such, capable of using any of a number of interchangeable limbs 
of various shapes for different kinds of specialised tasks. Suppose 
the murderer knew this and suddenly said to the robot, “Give me 

S ir arm.’’ The robot would detach its arm and give it to him. 

e detached arm would make a splendid weapon. With Dr 
Delmarre dead, it could be snapped back into place.’ 

Stunned horror gave way to a babble of objection as Baley 
talked. His last sentence had to be shouted, and, even so, was all 
but drowned out. 

Attlebish, face fiushed, raised himself from his chair and step- 
ped forward. ‘Even if what you say is so, then Mrs Delmarre is 

185 



TUB NAKED SUN 


the murderess. She was there, she quarrelled with him, she would 
be watching her husband working with the robot, and would know 
of the replaceable-limb situation — ^which I don’t believe, by 
way. No matter what you do, Earthman, everything points to 
her.’ 

Gladia began to weep .softly. 

Baley did not look at her. He said, ‘On the contrary, it is easy 
to show tliat, whoever committed the murder, Mrs Dclmarrc did 
not.’ 

Jothan Lcebig suddenly folded his arras and allowed an expres- 
sion of contempt to settle on his face. 

Baley caught that and said, ‘You’ll help me do so. Dr Leebig. 
As a roboticist, you know that manmuvring robots into actions 
such as indirect murder takes enormous skill. I had occasion 
yesterday to try to put an individual under house arrest. I gave 
three robots detailed instructions intended to keep this individual 
safe. It was a simple thing, but I am a clumsy man with robots. 
There were loopholes in my instructions and my prisoner es- 
caped.’ 

‘Who was the prisoner?’ demanded Attlcbish. 

‘Beside the point,’ said Baley impatiently. ‘What is the point is 
the fact that amateurs can’t handle robots well. And some Sol- 
arians may be pretty amateurish as Solarians go. For instance, 
what does Gladia Delmarre know about robotics? . . . Wpll, Dr 
Lwbig?* 

‘What?’ The roboticist stared. ’ 

‘You tried to teach Mrs Delmarre robotics. What kind of a 
pupil was she? Did she learn anything?’ 

Leebig looked about uneasily. ‘She didn’t . . .’ and stalled. 

‘She was completely hopeless, wasn’t she? Or would you prefer 
not to answer?’ 

Leebig said stiffly, ‘She might have protended ignorance/ 

‘Are you prepared to say, as a roboticist, that you think Mrs 
Delmarre is sufftciently skilled to drive robots to indirect mur- 
der?’ 

‘How can I answer that?’ 

‘Let me put it another way. Whoever tried to have me killed at 
the baby farm must have h^ to locate me by using Ihter-robot 

186 



A MEETING IS HELD 

coimnunications. After all, I told no human where I was going 
and only the robots who conveyed me from point to point Imcw of 
my whereabouts. My partner, Daneel Olivaw, managed to trace 
me later in the day, but only with considerable dimculty. Ihe 
murderer, on the other hand, must have done it easily, since, in 
addition to locating me, he had to arrange for arrow poisoning 
and arrow shooting, all before I left the farm and moved on. 
Would Mrs Dclmarre have the skill to do that?’ 

Corwin Attlcbish leaned forward. ‘Who do you suggest would 
have the necessary skill, Earthnian?* 

Balcy said, ‘Dr Jothan Leebig is sclf-admittcdly the best robot 
man on the planet.’ 

‘Is that an accusation?’ cried Leebig. 

‘Yes I ’ shouted Baley, 

The fury in Leebig’s eyes faded slowly.*ft was replaced not by 
calm, exactly, but by a kind of damped-down tension. He said, 
‘I studied the Dclmarre robot after the murder. It had no de- 
tachable limbs. At least, they were detachable only in the usual 
sense of requiring special tools and expert handling. So die robot 
wasn’t the weapon used in killing Dehnarre and you have no 
argument.’ 

Balcy said, 'Who else can vouch for the truth of your state- 
ment?’ 

‘My word is not to be questioned.’ 

‘It is here. I’m accusing you, and your unsupported word con- 
cerning <he robot is valudess. If someone else will bear you out, 
that would be different. Incidentally, you disposed of that robot 
quickly. Why?’ 

‘There was no reason to keep it It was completely disorgan- 
ised. It was useless.’ 

‘Why?’ 

Leebig shook his fi^r at Baley and said violently. ‘You asked 
me djiat once before, :Mrthman, and I told you why. It had wit- 
nessed a murder which it had been powerless to stop.’ 

‘And you told me that that always brought about complete 
collapse; that that was a universal rule. Yet when Gruer was 
poisoned, the robot that had presented him with the poisoned 
drink was harmed only to the extent of a limp and a lisp. It had 
actually itself been the agent of what looked like murder at that 

187 



THE NAKED SUN 


moment, and not merely a witness, and yet it retained enough 
sanity to be questioned. 

‘This robot, the robot in the Dclmarre case, must therefore 
have been siiU more intimately concerned with murder than the 
Gruer robot. This Dclmarre robot must have had its own arm 
used as the murder weapon.’ 

‘All nonsense,’ gasped out Leebig. ‘You know nothhig about 
robotics.’ 

Baley said, ‘That’s as may be. But I will suggest that Security 
Head Attlcbish impound the records of your robot factory and 
maintenance shop. Perhaps wc can find out whether you have 
built robots with detachable limbs and, if so, whetlier any were 
sent to Dr Dclmarre, and, if so, when.’ 

‘No one will tamper with my records,’ cried Leebig. 

‘Why! If you have nothing to hide, why?’ 

‘But why on Solaria should I want to IdU Dclmarre? Tell me 
that. What’s my motive?’ 

‘I can think of two,’ said Baley. ‘You were friendly with Mrs 
Dclmarre. Over-friendly. Solarians arc human, after a fashion. 
You never consorted with women, but that didn’t keep you im- 
mune from, shall we say, animal urges. You saw Mrs Dd- 
marre — beg your pardon, you viewed her — ^wlien she was 
dressed rather informally and * 

‘No,’ cried Leebig in agony. 

And Gladia whispered energetically, ‘No.’ 

‘Perhaps you didn’t recognise the nature of your fedings your- 
self,’ said Baley, ‘or if you had a dim notion of it, you despised 
youtsdf for your weakness, and hated Mrs Dclmartc for inspiring 
it. And yet you might have hated Dehnarrc, too, because she was 
his wife. You did ask Mrs Dclmarre to be your assistant. You 
compromised with your libido that far. She refused and your 
hatr^ was the keener for that.' By killing Dr Dehnarrc in such a 
way as to throw suspicion on Mrs Dclmarre, you could be 
avenged on both at once.’ 

‘Who would believe that cheap, melodramatic filth?’ de- 
manded leebig in a hoarse whisper. ‘Another Earthman, another 
animal, maybe. No Solarian.’ 

‘I don’t depend on that motive,’ said Baley. ‘I think it was 
there, unconsciously, but you had a plainer motive, too. Dr 

188 



A MfiETING IS HF.LD 


Rikainc Delinarrc was in the way of your plans, and had to be 
removed.’ 

‘What plans?’ demanded Lccfaig. 

‘Your plans aiming at the conquest of the Galaxy, Dr Lccbig,’ 
said Balcy. 


189 



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 


A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 

‘The Earthman is mad,’ cried Lccbig, turning to the others. ‘Isn’t 
that obvious?’ 

Some stared at Lecbig wordlessly, some at Baley. 

Balcy gave them no chance to come to decisions He said, ‘You 
know better, Dr Leebig. Dr Dclmarrc was going to break off with 
you. Mrs Dclmarre thought it was because you wouldn’t marry. I 
don’t think so. Dr Delmarre himself was planning a future in 
which cctogencsis would be possible and marriage unnecessary. 
But Dr Delmarre was working with you; he would know, and 
guess, more about your work than anyone else. He would know if 
you were attempting dangerous experiments and he would try to 
stop you. He hinted about such matters to Agent Grucr, but gave 
no details, because he was not t^et certain of the details. Ob- 
viously, -you discovered his suspicions and killed him.’ 

‘Madl’ said Lccbig again. ‘I will have nothing more to do with 
this.’ 

But Attlcbish interrupted. ‘Hear him out, Leebig 1’ 

Baley bit his lip to keep from a premature display of satis- 
faction at the obvious lack of sympathy in the Security Head’s 
voice. He said, ‘In the same discussion with me in which you 
mentioned robots with detachable limbs, Dr Leebig, you men- 
tioned spaceships with built-in positronic brains. You were defin- 
itely tallung too much them. Was it that you thought I was only 
an Earthman and incapable of understanding the implications of 
robotics? Or was it that you had just been uireatened with per- 
sonal presence, had die uireat lifted, and were a litde delirious 
with relief? In any case, Dr Quemot had already told me that the 
secret weapon of Solaria against the Outer worlds was the posit- 
ronic robot.’ 

Quemot, thus unexpectedly referred to, started violently, and 
cried, ‘I meant ’ 

‘You meant it sociologically, I know. But it gives a rise to 

190 



A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 

thoughts. Consider a spaceship with a built-in positronic brain as 
compared to a manned spaceship. A manned spaceship could not 
use robots in active warfare. A robot could not destroy humans on 
enemy spaceships or on enemy worlds. It could not grasp the 
distinction between friendly humans and enemy humans. 

*Of course, a robot could be told that the opposing spaceship 
had no humans aboard. It could be told that it was an uninhabited 
planet that was being bombarded. That would be diiBcult to 
manage. A robot could see tltat its own ship carried humans; it 
would know its own world held humans. It would assume that the 
same was true of enemy ships and worlds. It would take a real 
expert in robotics, such as you. Dr Lcebig, to handle them 
properly in that case, and there are very few such experts. 

‘But a spaceship that was equipped with its own positronic 
brain would cheerfully attack any ship it was directed to attack, it 
seems to me. It would naturally assume all other ships were 
unmanned. A poiiitronic-braincd ship could easily be made in- 
capable of receiving me.ssagcs from enemy sliips mat might un- 
deceive it. With its weapons and defences under the immediate 
control of a positronic brain, it would be more manoeuvrable than 
any manned ship. With no room necessary for crewmen, for sup- 
plies, for water or air purifiers, it could carry more armour, more 
weapons and be more invulnerable than any ordinary ship. One 
ship with a positronic brain could defeat fleets of ordinary ships. 
Am I wrong?’ 

The last question was shot at Dr Leebig, who had risen from 
his seat and was standing rigid, almost cataleptic with— what? 
Anger? Horror? 

There was no answer. No answer could have been beard. 
Something tore loose and the others were yelling madly. Klorlssa 
had the face of a Fury and even Gladia was on her feet, her small 
fist beating the air threateningly, and all had turned on Leebig. 

Balcy relaxed and closed his eyes. He tried for just a few 
moments to unknot bis muscles, unfreeze his tendons. 

It had worked. He had pressed the right button at last. Quemot 
had made an analogy between the Solarian robots and the 
Spartan Helots. He said the robots could not revolt so the Sol- 
arlans could relax. 

But what if some human threatened to teach the robots how 
to harm humans; to make them, in other words, capable of 

191 



THE NAKED SUN 


revolting? 

Would diat not be the ultimate crime? On a world such as 
Sobria would not every last inhabitant turn fiercely against any- 
one even suspected of making a robot capable of harming a 
humane on Solaria, where robots outnumbered humans by ten 
thousand to one? 

Attlebish cried, ‘You are under arrest. You are absolutely for- 
bidden to touch your books or records until the government has a 

chance to inspect them ’ He went on, almost incoherent, 

scarcely heard in the pandemonium. 

A robot approached Baley. ‘A message, master, from the 
master Olivaw.’ 

Baley took the message gravely, turned, and cried, ‘One 
moment.’ 

His voice had an almost magical effect. All turned to look at 
him solemnly and in no face (outside Lcebig’s frozen glare) was 
there any sign of anything but the most painful attention to the 
Earthman. 

Baley said, ‘It is foolish to expect Dr Lcebig to leave his 
records untouched while waiting for some official to reach them. 
So even before this interview began, my partner, Danccl Olivaw, 
left for Dr Lcebig’s estate. I have just heard from him. He is on 
the grounds now and will be wildi Dr Lecbig in a moment in 
order that he may be put under restraint.’ 

‘Restraint!' howled Lcebig in an almost animal terror. His 
eyes widened into staring holes in his head. ‘Someone coming 
here? Personal presence? Nol Noi’ The second ‘No’ was a 
shriek. 

‘You will not be harmed,’ said Baley coldly, ‘if you co-operate,’ 

‘But I won’t see him. I can’t see liim.’ The roboticist fell to his 
knees without seeming aware of the motion. He put his hands 
together in a desperate clasped gesture of appeal. ‘What do you 
want? Do you want a confession? Delmarie’s robot had detach- 
able limbs. Yes, yes, yes, I arranged Gruer’s poisoning. I ar- 
ranged the arrow meant for you. I even planned me spaceships as 
you said. I haven’t succeeds, but, yes, I planned it. Only keep 
the man away 1 Don’t let him come I Keep him away ! ’ 

He was babbUng. 

Baley nodded. Another right button. The threat of personal 
presence would do more to induce confession than any physical 

192 



A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 


torture. 

But then, at some noise or movement outside the field of sound 
or vision of any of the others, Leebig’s head twisted and his 
mouth opened. He lifted a pair of hands, holding something off. 

‘Away I’ he begged. ‘Go awayl Don’t conac! Please don’t 
cornel Please ’ 

He scrambled away on hands and knees, then his hand went 
suddenly to a pocket in his jacket. It came out with something 
and moved rapidly to his mouth. Swaying twice, he fell prone, 

Baley wanted to cry: You fool, it isn’t a human that’s ap- 
proaching; only one of the robots you bve. 

Dancel Olivaw darted into the field of vision and for a moment 
stared down at the crumpled figure. 

Baley held his breath. If Danucl should realise it was his own 
pseudo humanity that had killed Leebig, the effect on his First 
Law-enslaved brain might be drastic. 

But Dancel only knelt and his delicate fingers touched Leebig 
here and there, Ihed he lifted Leebig’s head as though it were 
infinitely precious to him, cradling it, caressing it. 

His beautifully chiselled face stared out at the others and he 
whispered, ‘A human is dead I’ 

Baley was expecting her; she had asked for a last interview; 
but his eyes widened when she appeared. 

He said, ‘I’m seeing you?’ 

‘Yes,’ said Gladia, 'how can you tell?’ 

•You’re wearing gloves.’ 

‘Oh.’ She looked at her hands in confusion. Then, softly, ‘Do 
you mind?’ 

‘No, of course not. But why have you decided to see, rather 
than view?’ 

‘Well’ — she smiled weakly — ‘I’ve got to get used to it, haven’t 
1, ]^ah? I mean, if I’m going to Aurora.’ 

‘Then it’s all arranged?’ 

‘Mr Olivaw seems to have influence. It’s ell arranged. I’ll 
never come back.’ 

‘Good. You’ll be happier, Gladia, I taiow you will.'* 

‘I’m a little afraid.’ 

‘I know. It will mean seeing all the time and you won’t have all 
the comforts you had on Solaria. But you’ll ^ used to it and^ 

193 



THE NAKED SUN 


what’s more, you’ll forget all the terror you’ve been through,’ 

‘I don’t want to forget everything,’ said Gladia softly. 

'You will.’ Balcy looked at the sum girl who stood before him 
and said, not without a momentary pang. ‘And you will be mar- 
ried some-day, too. Really married, I mean.’ 

‘Somehow,’ she said mournfully, ‘that doesn’t seem so attrac- 
tive to me — ^just now.’ 

‘You’ll change your mind.’ 

And they stood there, looking at each other for a wordless 
moment. 

Gladia said, ‘I’ve never thanked you.’ 

Baley said, ‘It was only my job.’ 

‘You’ll be going back to Ea^ iww, won’t you?’ 

‘Yes.’ 

‘I’ll never see you again.’ 

‘Probably not. But don’t feel badly about that. In forty years at 
most. I’ll be dead and you won’t look a bit different from the way 
you do now.’ 

Her face twisted. ‘Don’t say that.’ 

‘It’s true,’ 

She said rapidly, as though forced to change the subject, ‘It’s 
all true about Jotnan Leebig, you know.’ 

‘I know, Odicr roboticists went over his records and found 
experiments towards unmanned intelligent spaceships. They also 
found other robots with replaceable limbs.’ 

Gladia shuddered. ‘Why did he do such a horrible thing, do 
you suppose?’ 

‘He was afraid of people. He killed himself to avoid personal 
presence and he was ready to kill other worlds to make sure that 
Solaria and its personal-presence taboo would never be touched.’ 

‘How could he feel so,’ she murmured, ‘when personal presence 
can be so very ’ 

^ain a silent moment while they, faced each other at ten paces, 

Tnen Gladia cried suddenly, ‘Oh, Elijah, you’ll think it aban- 
doned of me.’ 

‘Think what abandoned?’ 

‘I’ll never see you again, Elijah. May I touch you?’ 

‘If you want to,’ 

Step by step, she came closer, her eyes glowing, yet looking 
apprwensive, too. She stopped three feet away, then slowly, as 

194 



A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 

though in a trance, she began to remove the glove on her right 
hand. 

Baley started a restraining gesture. ‘Don’t be foolish Gladia,’ 

‘I’m not afraid,’ said Gladia. 

Her hand was bare. It trembled as she extended it. 

And so did Balcy’s as he took her hand in his. They remained 
so for one moment, her hand a shy thing, frightened as it rested in 
his. He opened his hand and hers escaped, darted suddenly and 
without warning towards his face until her fingertips rested 
featlier-light upon his cheek for the barest moment. 

She said, ‘Thank you, Elijah. Good-bye.’ 

He said, ‘Good-bye, Gladia,’ and watched her leave. 

Even the thought that a ship was waiting to take him back to 
Earth did not wipe out the sense of loss he felt at that moment. 

Under-Secretary Albert Minnim’s look was intended to be one 
ot prim welcome. ‘I am glad to see you back on Earth. Your 
report, of course, arrived before you did and is being studied.You 
did a good job. The matter will look well in your record.’ 

‘Thank you,’ said Baley. There was no room for further elation 
in him. Being back on Earth; being safe in the Caves; being in 
hearing of Jessie’s voice (he had spoken to her already) had left 
him strangely, empty. 

‘However,’ said Minnlm, ‘your report concerned only the 
murder investigation. There was another matter we were inter- 
ested in. May I have a report on tliat, verbally?’ 

Baley hesitated and his hand mov^ automatically towards the 
inner pocket where the warm comfort of his pipe could once more 
be found. 

Minnim said at once, Tou may smoke, Baley.” 

Baley made of the lighting process a rather drawn-out rituaL 
He said, *1 am not a sociologist.’ 

‘Aren’t you?* Minnim smiled briefly, ‘It seems to me we dis- 
cussed that once. A successful detective must be a good rule-of- 
thumb sociologist even if he never heard of Hackett’s Equation, I 
think, from your discomfort at the moment, that you have notions 
concerning me Outer Worlds but aren’t sure how, it will sound to 
me?’ 

‘If you put it that way, sir... Whenjyou ordered me to Solatia,' 
you asked a question; you asked what the weaknesses of the Outer 

195 



THE NAKEO S|UN 

Worlds were. Their strengths were their robots, their low popula- 
tion, their long lives, but what were their weaknesses?’ 

‘Well?’ 

‘I believe I know the weaknesses of the Solarians, sir.’ 

‘You can answer my question? Good. Go ahead.’ 

‘Their weaknesses, sir, arc their robots, their low population, 
their long lives.’ 

Minnim stared at Baley without any change of expression. His 
hands worlccd in jerky finger-drawn designs along the papers on 
his desk. 

He said, ‘Why do you say that?’ 

Baley had spent hours organising his thoughts on the way back 
front Solaria; had confronted officialdom, in imagination, with 
balanced, wcll-rcasoncd arguments. Now he felt at a loss. 

He said, ‘I’m not sure I can put them clearly.’ 

‘No matter. Let me hear. This is first approximation only.’ 

Baley said, ‘The Solarians have given up something mankind 
has had for a million years; something worth more than atomic 
power, cities, agriculture, tools, fire, everything; because it’s 
something tliat made everything else possible.’ 

‘I don’t want to guess, Baley. What is it?’ 

‘The tribe, sir. Co-operation between individuals. Solaria has 
given it up entirely. It is a world of isolated individuals and the 
planet’s only sociologist is delighted that this is so. Tliat soci- 
ologist, by the way, never heard of sociomathcmatics, because he 
is inventing lus own science. There is no one to teach him, no one 
to help him, no one to think of something he himself might miss. 
The only science that really fiourishes on Solaris is robotics and 
there are only a handful of men involved in that, and when it 
came to an analysis of the interaction of robots and men, they had 
to call in an Earthman to help. 

‘Solarian art, sir, is abstract. We have abstract art on Earth as 
one form of art; but on Solaria it is the only form. The human 
touch is gone. The looked-for future is one of ectogenesis and 
complete isolation from birth.’ 

Minnim said, ‘It all sounds horrible. But is it harmful?’ 

*1 tl^k so. Without the interplay of human against hitman, the 
chief interest in life is gone; most of the intellectual values ate 
gone; most of the reason for living is gone. Viewing is no sub- 
stitute for seeing. The Solarians, memsclves, ate conscious that 

196 



A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 

viewing is a long-distance sense. 

‘And if isolation isn’t enough to induce stagnation, there is the 
matter of their long lives. On Earth, we have a continuous influx 
of youiig people who are willing to change because they haven’t 
had time to grow hard set in their ways. I sunpose there’s some 
optimum. A life long enough for real accomplishment and short 
enough to make way for youth at a rate that’s not too slow. On 
Solaria, the rate ts too slow.’ 

Minnim still drew patterns with his finger. ‘Interesting! In- 
teresting I ’ He looked up, and it was as though a mask had fallen 
away. There was glee in his eyes. ‘Plalnclothcsman, you’re a man 
of penetration.’ 

‘Thank you,’ said Baley stiffly. 

‘Do you know why I encouraged you to describe your views to 
me?’ He was almost like a little boy, hugging his pleasure. He 
went on without waiting for an answer. ‘Your report has already 
undergone preliminary analysis by our sociologists and I was 
wondering if you had any idea yourself as to the excellent news 
for Earth you had brought with you, I see you have.’ 

‘But wait,’ said Baley. ‘There’s more to this.' 

‘There is indeed,’ agreed Minnim jubilantly. ‘Solaria cannot 
possibly correct its stagnation. It has passed a critical point and 
their dencndence on robots has gone too ‘far. Individual robots 
can’t discipline an individual child, even though discipUne may 
do the child eventual good. The robot can’t see past the im- 
mediate pain. And robots collectively cannot discipline a planet 
by allowing its institutions to collapse when the institutions have 
grown harmful. They can’t see past the immediate chaos. So the 
only end for the Outer Worlds is perpetual stagnation and Eanh 
will be freed of their domination. This new data changes every- 
thing. Physical revolt will not even be necessary. Freedom will 
come of itself,’ 

‘Wait,’ said Baley again, more loudly. ‘It’s only Solaria we’re 
discussing, not any other Outer World,’ 

‘It’s the same tmng. Your Solarian sociologist— Kimot *’ 

‘Quemot, sir.’ 

‘Quemot, then. He said, did he not, tliat the other Outer 
Worlds were moving in the direction of Solaria?’ 

‘He did, but he kiaew nothing about the other Outer Worlds 
first-hand, and he was no sociologist. Not really. I thought I 

197 



THE KAKED SUN 


made that dear.’ 

‘Our own men will dicdt.’ 

‘They’ll ladt data too. We know nothing about the really big 
Outer Worlds. Aurora, for instance; Danecl’s world. To me, it 
doesn’t seem reasonable to expect them to be anything like 
Solaria. In fact, there’s only one world in the Galaxy which 
resembles Solaria ’ 

Minnim was dismissing tlic subject with a small, hanov wave 
of his neat hand, ‘Our men will check. I’m sure they will agree 
witlt Queraot.’ 

Baley's stare grew sombre. If Earth’s sociologists were anxious 
enough for happy news, they would find themselves agreeing with 
Quemot, at that. Anything could be found in figures if the search 
were long enough and hard enough and if the proper pieces of 
information were ignored or overlooked. 

He hesitated. Was it best now to speak while he had the car of 
a man high in the government or 

He hesitated a trifle too long. Minnim was speaking again, 
shuffling a few papers and growing more matter-of-fact. ‘A few 
minor matteta, Plaindoihesman, concerning the Dclmarro case 
itself and then you will be free to go. Did you intend to have 
Leebig commit suicide?’ 

*r intended to force a confession, sir. I had not anticipated 
suicide at the approach, ironically, of someone who was only a 
robot and who would not really be violating the taboo against 
personal presence. But, frankly, I don’t regret his death. He was a 
dangerous man. It will be a long time before there will be another 
man who will combine his sickness and his brilliance.’ 

*I agree with that,’ said Minnim dryly, ‘and consider his death 
fortunate, but didn’t you consider your danger if the Solarians 
had stopped to realize that Leebig couldn’t possibly have mur- 
dered Delmarre?’ 

Baley took his pine out of his moutli and said nothing. 

‘Come, Plainclothesman,’ said Minnim, ‘You know he didn’t. 
The murder required personal presence and Leebig would die 
rather than allow that. He did die rather than allow it.’ 

Baley said, ‘You’re right, sir. I counted on the Solarians being 
too horrified at his misuse of robots to stop to think of that.’ 

‘Then who did kUl Delmarre?’ 

Baley said slowly, ‘If you mean who struck the actual blow, It 

198 



A QUESTION IS ANSWERED 

was tlic person everyone knew had done so. Gladia Delmatre, the 
man’s wife.’ 

'And you let her go?’ 

Balcy said, ‘Morally, the responsibility wasn’t hers, Lccbig 
knew Gladia quarrelled bitterly with her husband, and often. He 
must have known how furious she could grow in moments of 
anger. Lcebig wanted the death of the husband under circum- 
stances that would incriminate the wife. So he supplied Delmarre 
with a robot and, I imagine, instructed it with all the skill he 
possessed to hand Gladia one of its detachable limbs at the 
moment of her full fury. With a weapon in her hand at the crucial 
moment, she acted in a temporary blac.k-out before either Dd- 
marre or the robot could stop her. Gladia was as much Leebig’s 
unwitting instrument as the robot itself.’ 

Minnira said, ‘The robot’s arm must have been smeared with 
blood and matted hair.’ 

It probably was,’ said Balcy, ‘but it was Lcebig who took the 
murder robot in charge. He could easily have instructed any other 
robots who might have noticed the fact to forget it, Dr Thool 
might have noticed it, but he inspected only the dead man and the 
unconscious woman. Lcebig’s mistake was to think that guilt 
would rest so obviously on Gladia that the matter of the absence 
of an obvious weapon at the scene wouldn’t save hot. Nor could 
he anticipate that an Ear^man would be called in to help with 
the investigation.’ 

'So with Lcebig dead, you arranged to have Gladia leave Sol- 
aria. Was that to save her in case any Solarians began thinking 
about the case?’ 

Balcy shrugged his shoulders. ‘She had suffered enough. She 
had been victimised by everyone; by her husband, by Leebig, by 
the world of Solaria.’ 

Minniffl said. ‘Weren’t you bending the law to suit a personal 
whim?’ 

Balcy’s craggy face grew hard. ‘It was not a whim. I was not 
bound by So^an law. Earth’s Interests were paramount, and for 
the sake of those interests, I had to see that Leebig, the dangerous 
one, was dealt with, As for Mrs Delmarre.’ He faced Minnim 
now, and felt himself taking a ctudal step. He had to say this. 'As 
for Mrs Delmarrp, I made her the basis of an experiment.’ 

‘What experiment?’ 


199 



THE NAKED SUN 


‘I wanted to know if she would consent to face a world where 
persorval presence was pernaitted and expected, I was curious to 
imow if she bad the courage to face disruption of habits so deeply 
settled in her. I was afraid she might refuse to go; that she might 
insist of remaining on Solaria, which was purgatory to her, rather 
than bring herself to abandon her distorted Solanan way of life, 
But she chose change and I was glad she did, because to me it 
seemed symbolic. It seemed to open the gates of salvation for 
us' 

‘For tts?’ said Minnim with energy, ‘What the devil do you 
mean?’ 

‘Not for you and me, particularly, sir,’ said Baley gravely, ‘but 
for all mankind. You’re wrong about the other Outer Worlds, 
They have few robots; they permit personal presence; and they 
have been investigating .Solaria. R. Daneel Olivaw was there with 
me, you know, and he’ll take back a report. There is a danger 
they may become Solarians some day, but they will probably 
recognise that danger and work to keep themselves in a reasonable 
balance and in that way remain the leaders of mankind.’ 

‘That is your opinion,’ said Minnim testily. 

‘And there’s more to it. There is one world like Solaria and 
that’s Earth.’ 

‘Plainclothcsman Baley!’ 

‘It’s so, sir. We’re Solaria inside out. They retreated into isola- 
tion from one another. We retreated into isolation from the 
Galaxy, They arc at the dead end of their inviolable estates. We 
are at the dead end of the underground Cities. They’re leaders 
without followers, only robots who can’t talk back. We’re fol- 
lowers without leaders, only enclosing Cities to keep us safe,’ 
Balcy’s fists clenched. 

Minnim disapproved, ‘Plainclothcsman, you have been through 
an oideal. You need a rest and you will have one, A month’s 
vacation, full pay, and a promotion at the end of it,’ 

‘Thank you, but that’s not all I want. I want you to listen. 
There’s only one direction out of our dead end and that’s out- 
wards, towards Space. There are a million worlds out there and 
the Spacers own only fifty. They are few and long-lived. We are 
many and short-lived. We are better suited than they for explora- 
tion and colonisation, Wo have population pressure to push u$ 
and a rapid turnover of generation to keep us supplied with the 

'TOO 



A QUESTION 18 ANSWERED 

young and reckless. It was our ancestors who colonised the Outer 
Worlds in the first place.’ 

‘Yes, I sec — ^but I’m afraid our time is up.’ 

Baley could feel the other’s anxiety to he rid of him and he 
remained stolidly in place. He said, ‘When the original colonisa- 
tion established worlds superior to our own in technology we 
escaped by building wombs beneath the ground for ourselves. 
The Spacers made us feel inferior and we hid from them. That’s 
no answer. To avoid the destructive rhythm of rebellion and sup- 
pression, we must compete with them, follow them, if we must, 
lead them, if we can. To do that, we must face the open; we must 
teach ourselves to face the open, tt it is too late to teach ourselves, 
then we must teach our children. It’s vital!’ 

‘You need a rest, Flainclothcsman.’ 

Baley said violently, ‘Listen to me, sir. If the Spacers are 
strong and wc remain as we ate, then Earth will be destroyed 
within a century. That has been computed, as you yourself told 
me. If the Spaccts arc really weak and arc growing weaker, then 
we may escape, but who says the Spacers ate weak? The Sol- 
arians, yes, but that’s all wc know.’ 

‘But ’ 

‘I’m not tlirough. One thing we can change, whether the 
Spacers are weak or strong. Wc can change the way we are. Let 
us face the open and we’ll never need rebellion. We can spread 
out into our own crowd of worlds and become Spacers ourselves. 
If we stay here on Earth, cooped up, then useless and fatal rebel- 
lion can’t be stopped. It will be all die worse if the people build 
any false hopes because of supposed Spacer weakness. Go ahead, 
ask the sociologists I Put my argument to them, and if they’re still 
in doubt, find a way to send me to Aurora, Let me bring back a 
report on the real Spacers, and you’ll see what Earth must do.’ 

Minnim nodded. ‘Yes, yes. Good day, now, Plainclothcsman 
Baley.’ 

Baley left with a feeling of exaltation, He had not expected an 
open victory over Minnim. Victories over ingrained patterns of 
thouglit are not won in a day or a year. But he had seen the look 
of pensive uncertainty that had crossed Minnim’s face and had 
blotted out, at least for a while, the earlier uncritical joy. 

He felt he could see into the future. Minnim would ask the 
sociologists and one or two of them would be uncertain. They 

201 



THE NAKED SUN 


would wonder. They would consult Balcy. 

Give it one year, thought Baley, one year, and 111 be on my 
way to Aurora. One generation, and we’ll be out in space once 
more. 

Baley stepped on to the nortlibound Expressway. Soon he 
would see Jessie. Would she understand? And his son, Bentley, 
now seventeen. When Ben had a scvcnieen-ycar-old son of his 
own, would he be standing on some empty world, building a 
spacious life? 

It was a frightening thought, for Baley still feared the open; 
but at least he no longer feared the fear. It was not soraeiliing to 
tun from, that fear, but something to fight. 

Baley felt as though a touch of madness had come over him. 
From the very first 'the open had had its weird attraction for him; 
from the time in the ground-car when he had tricked Danccl in 
order to have the top lowered so that he might stand up in the 
open air. 

He had failed to understand then. Daneel thought he was being 
perverse. Baley himself thought he was facing the open out of 
professional necessity, to solve a crime. Only on that last evening 
on Solaria, with the curtain tearing away from the window, did 
he realise Ms need to face tlie open for the open’s own sake; tor its 
attraction and its promise of freedom. 

There must be millions on Earth who would feel that same 
urge, if the open were only brought to their attention, if they 
could be made to take the first step. 

He looked about. 

The Expressway was speeding on. All about him was artificial 
light and huge banks of apartments gliding backwards and Hash- 
ing signs and store windows and factories and lights and noise 
and crowds and more noise and people and people and people . . . 

It was all he had loved, all he hated and feared to leave, all he 
had thought he longed for on Solaria and it was all strange to 
him. He couldn’t make himself fit back in. He had gone out to 
solve a murder and something had happened to him. 

He had told Minnim the Cities were wombs, and so they were. 
V7hat was the first thing a man must do beforb he can be a man? 
He must be bom. He must leave the womb; and once left, it 
could not be re-entered. 


202 



A QUBSTION IS ANSWERED 

Balcy had left the City and could not re-enter. The City was 
no longer his; the Caves of Steel were alien. This had to be; and 
it would be so for others and Earth would be bom again and reach 
outwards. 

His heart beat madly and the noise of life about him sank to an 
unheard murmur. 

He remembered his dream on Solaria and he understood it at 
last. He lifted his head and he could see through all the steel and 
concrete and humanity above him. He could see the beacon set in 
space to lure men outwards. He could see it shining down — the 
naked sun. 


203